Man of Sorrows
Paduan School (Italian)
Man of Sorrows, 15th century
OTempera on Wood Panel
Gift of Dr. William S. Serri
Conserved in 2013 with Support from the Stockman Family Foundation
Condition Prior to Treatment (2009):
Support Condition: The bottom panel boards has split at the join to the upper board at 14 1/2” from the bottom edge. There is a partial split, 15” wide at 8 1/2” from the bottom edge, extending in from the right edge. There is a partial split, 21 1/2” w, at 7 1/2” from the bottom edge, extending in from the left edge. There is a partial, 18”w horizontal split at ½” to 1 ½” from the bottom, extending in from the right edge. There is a partial 26” w split at three inches from the bottom edge, extending in from the right. The two sections of the bottom panel board each have pronounced convex warping. The reverse of the panel has been thinned and mounted on a 5-member wooden strainer. Long triangular wooden wedges have been fitted to the reverse of the panel, horizontally along the vertical strainer members. This appears to have been a 19th or early 20th century attempt to correct warping.
Paint Layer Construction: Small strokes of tempera paint have been thinly applied to an off-white gesso layer. The paint texture ranges from smooth to slight. There is more heavily texture paint and ground in the top 3” to 7” above a gently arched line; this indicates that the panel shape may have been arch topped originally.
Paint Layer Condition: The more heavily textured paint above their heads is largely repaint. The blue-grey background paint has been heavily abraded by previous cleanings, some of the abrasions have been poorly inpainted. Ultra violet light reveals old repaints along the splits, in the upper 3” to 7” of the panel, in the robes of the figure at left, and in many other small spots scattered overall. More recent, poorly matched inpainting is visible along the bottom edge, and partially covering losses along the split. There are paint losses and a few areas of active paint flaking along some of the splits. The gold halos have been heavily abraded. Gold trim in the red cloak at right has been abraded.
Surface Film: There are multiple, old layers of discolored, natural resin varnish overall. Old grime has become trapped between varnish layers. The varnish has a slightly dull appearance.
Conservation Treatment (2013):
Areas of flaking paint along splits in the panel were consolidated with Beva 3512 conservation adhesive and set in place with localized heat and pressure. Further examination of the surface revealed that the varnish layers had been coated with past wax to give the panel a soft sheen. Consolidation had disturbed the wax finish around the insecure areas of paint; gentle buffing of the exisiting surface wax restored an even sheen overall and also removed slight grime deposits from the waxed surface. Paint losses along the splits were filled with pigmented and clear microcrystalline wax. The wood adjacent to the lower split has warped out of plane so the split could not be filled; some paint losses along this lower split were filled. Paint losses were inpainted with pigments in PVA AYAA/AYAC (polyvinyl acetate, Union Carbide). In addition to the paint losses along the splits, poorly done inpainting/repaint was adjusted along the bottom edge. Some small paint losses scattered throughout were also inpainted. Areas of exposed, white gesso and poorly done repaint in the frame were also toned with inpainting materials to give the frame & paintings a more unified appearance. The buffing of the waxed surface sufficiently cleaned the surface and increased the saturation of the paint layer slightly. Not overall varnish was applied at this time.