The Baptism of Christ - 1
Baptism of Christ, c. 1480
Oil on Panel
Conserved in 2011-2012 with Support from the Stockman Family Foundation
Condition Prior to Treatment (2009): The paint layer appears to be stable. There has been abrasion from previous cleanings. This is most apparent in the dark shadows of the tree leaves, near the top and right edges. Minor chips, scratches and abrasions can be seen scattered overall, beneath the varnish layers. Ultra violet light reveals inpainting on the flesh tones of both figures, in the loincloth of Christ, and in the sky. The inpainting in the sky, and in the loincloth, matches very well. The inpainting in the flesh tones is too orange. The bottom edge of the “frame” has areas of cupped cracking which are detaching. On the frame many spots of the gold paint finish and inscription have flaked away. There also appear to be some dark brown repaints in the upper left tree leaves.
Conservation Treatment (2012): Flaking paint along the lower "frame” edge was consolidated with Beva conservation adhesive and set in place with localized heat. The poorly saturating varnish was reduced with appropriate cleaning agents. Repaints were removed or reduced with appropriate cleaning agents. The removal of repaints revealed that some changes to the painting had been made by previous restorers. Many leaves in the trees were actually additions which covered both damages and areas of dark blue sky; the loincloth of Christ had been made larger; and St. John had been given a larger beard. Removal of repaints also revealed many small, old paint losses scattered overall. It is possible that the current halo of St John is from the time period when the leaves were added by a restorer; at least some of St. John’s halo is on top of the restorers repaint. It is also possible that the halo was repaired or replaced after all the extra leaves were applied. Old residues of grime and varnish lodged in paint interstices were removed or reduced with appropriate cleaning agents. An isolating layer of Beva UVS Finishing Varnish (Regalrez) was applied overall. Paint losses were filled with pigmented microcrystalline wax. Paint losses were inpainted with pigments in PVA AYAA/AYAC (polyvinyl acetate, Union Carbide). A Final layer of Beva UVS Finishing Varnish was applied overall. The conservation treatment was completed by independent paintings conservator Steven B. Erisoty.