17 Dec Conservation works on the collection moving forward … and presenting one of those completed for Christmas 2016.
Another project completed! One of the very few Early Renaissance paintings on panel is now conserved and restored ready to go on display. In the meantime its on show in an exhibition at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.
The painting was in a critical condition. Its wooden support was slowly but gradually warping. Sizeable portions of the original paint layer had also been lost, deteriorating at a relatively fast rate with fresh cracks in the paint layer also noted. The painting was first inspected and the findings, including retouchings to the original paint layer and past treatments, documented. Historic and art historic research, including original context, function and significance complement these findings. Materials used in past treatments were removed and areas of paint losses filled and retouched painstakingly. Detached areas were studied in order to understand why this had happened and the original paint was subsequently re-adhered. It was then placed inside a sealed custom-made container to provide a stable, fully controlled environment. This container prevents further damage and discretely fits inside the painting’s outer wooden frame.
The painting’s history is still elusive. It shows the signature of the artist, Maestro Alberto, hanging on a cartouche right behind the kneeling Virgin Mary. We do not know who Alberto was. His style suggests that he was an Early Renaissance master possibly active in Tuscany and only one other work by this artist is known to date.
Conservation and restoration works were undertaken by our colleagues at Heritage Malta’s Conservation Division.