Case Study
 
           
           

Historical Rewards:

A Dutch and a Flemish Discovery
           


Rubens Studio
"The Crowning of St. Catherine"
After Cleaning
           
           
   
 

Structural Treatment/Completion
 
           
           
 

Rejoining
 
           
The panel members now had to be rejoined, but the harsh 2 1/2" convex warp offered a significant challenge. The panel had long assumed this shape and any attempt to flatten the support would have caused considerable paint stress. To properly align the right and center sections, the two were placed facedown in the painting's frame. The frame's upper and lower rabbet lengths were arch-shaped to mirror the panel's warp.

Realignment
Right and Center Sections
The two sections were precisely positioned so the connecting frontal join was neither high nor low but rather perfectly aligned. Once established, Araldite 1253 was inserted halfway into the crack and allowed to dry for twenty-four hours. Araldite is a two-part, mahogany-toned paste adhesive offering strength and carving capabilities. (31) When completed, the join was further reinforced from the front. With the assistance of a microscope and scalpel, the adhesive was inserted into the frontal crack to a level just below the surface plane; surface overruns were easily removed using damp swabs. Once again, the adhesive was allowed to dry for twenty-four hours. The left and center panels were joined similarly.



Rubens Studio
"The Crowning of St. Catherine"
Verso Join

Rubens Studio
"The Crowning of St. Catherine"
Frontal Join
           
           
 

Filling/Varnishing
 
           
The cracks and other losses were brought to plane using marble dust and a gelatin adhesive. The surface was then brush coated with Windsor & Newton non-yellowing varnish. As with the van der Poel, varnish reinstates the richness of the paint, allowing the darks to have their proper tone. It also protects the paint from accidental damage. The painting's after-varnish appearance is imaged below.
           

Rubens Studio
"The Crowning of St. Catherine"
After Varnishing

Rubens Studio
Detail "The Crowning of St. Catherine"
After Varnishing

           
           
 

Retouching
 
           
Retouching on a curved surface presents certain difficulties since varying lighting effects or improper fills can exacerbate tonal irregularities. The accurate alignment of the panel sections assisted in mitigating these problems. The cracks were carefully retouched to match the original to both value and hue. The retouching, or inpainting, was completed using Maimeri conservation pigments. These pigments are both color- and light-fast, offering confidence that the restoration areas will remain consistent over time.
           
The cleaning revealed the background's sketchlike character and the unfortunate damage that resulted from earlier cleaning attempts. The overpaint was used to try to conceal the damage and the contrast between the finished foreground figures and the looseness of the background. The goal of the author's retouching was to harmonize the damage without apologizing for the contrasting brushwork.
           

Rubens Studio
Detail "The Crowning of St. Catherine"
After Varnishing

Rubens Studio
Detail "The Crowning of St. Catherine"
During Retouching
           
           
 

Completion
 
 

11/20/08
 
           

The application of a non-yellowing spray varnish completed the treatment.
           

Rubens Studio
"The Crowning of St. Catherine"
Before Treatment

Rubens Studio
"The Crowning of St. Catherine"
After Treatment
           
           
While the museum titles the painting "Madonna and Child with St. Catherine," this attribution is not exactly correct. The scene actually depicts the crowning of St. Catherine and is connected to Peter Paul Rubens's masterpiece in the Toledo Museum of Art. This painting's history and content are reviewed on the next page.
           
           
Footnotes    
(31) Araldite from Huntsman Advanced Materials. West Point, GA. 31833.
           

  Home

Table of Contents, Biography, "Barn Interior" Examination, Treatment,
The Flayed Pig, Related Themes, "The Crowning of St. Catherine" Examination, Visual Treatment, Structural Treatment/Completion, Rubens Original

 





Barry Bauman Conservation
Contact: Mr. Barry Bauman
1122 N. Jackson Ave., River Forest, IL. 60305
Ph.(708)771-0382  Fax.(708)771-1532
e-mail:barrybbc7@yahoo.com