Christos Karydis, 2006, «The Fabric Support in Portable Icons: Deterioration, Documentation & Conservation», International Meeting, ICONS: APPROACHES TO RESEARCH, CONSERVATION AND ETHICAL ISSUES

Introduction

Traditionally and until the present time, one of the first stages in theconstruction of a portable icon is the application of the fabric(pavoloko) directly on the wooden support, using either organic or,more recently, synthetic adhesives prior to the application of the gessolayer.

The aim of this paper is to raise the awareness of the icon conservator/restorer regarding the need to adopt an informed approach in thedocumentation and treatment of the fabric component. This paper issplit into three main sections presenting an overall view of the subjectsuch as the deterioration factors, methods of documentation andconservation of the fabric.

It is also hoped to illustrate some basic aspects of the work from thepoint of view a preventive textile conservator, which may prove ofinterest to the icon conservators.

The textile substrate, is part of the construction of icons and, as anorganic material, brings with it potential for particular types ofdeterioration, which can be caused by unstable environmentalconditions in display and storage. This can create expansion and contraction of both textile together with the wooden support and theseare not necessarily compatible and stresses may result. There is alsopotential for the growth of micro organisms and development of insectinfestation. Types of deterioration which have been identified relatingto the fabric support are; its separation from the wood, development ofsplits and losses, mechanical breakdown and decomposition as a resultof biological agents. These all need careful documentation when theicon is first examined and investigation undertaken. Previousrestoration, which may have used a variety of varnishes, often mixedwith pigments and other natural products to ‘camouflage’ damagedareas for aesthetic reasons, or varnishes applied also on the fabric layeras a final coating can also lead to further problems.

Although the fabric is one of the critical elements in the icon, in asmuch as it may secure the paint layer on to a decaying support, it hasbeen observed that icon conservators do not always give properattention to this material during documentation. At this point,analytical and investigative techniques could play an integral role inthe identification of the fabric, its material and technological details, aspart of standard documentation, prior to any treatment.

Identification of the fibres used in this support under the microscope,will show different structures by examining both longitudinal andcross sections. Thus for instance line, jute and cotton can be easilyidentified.In the presentation, emphasis will also be given to two basic weavingtypes found in icons which are very familiar to textile conservators butperhaps not to other conservators specialising in different fields. Inidentifying the construction of the textile and its weaving technology,the icon conservator/restorer gains further knowledge about thepathology of the artefact. This is important for decisions regarding theselection of appropriate materials to use in the treatment to avoidfurther damage to the cellulose or protein fabric structure with the useof strong alkali and acid adhesives or solvents.

The paper will alsopropose a unified approach to the documentation of this importantelement of the icon’s structure. This can be used across monastic andmuseum collections stored and displayed in Greece and elsewhere. Aproforma (data base) suitable for archival purposes of both textileresearchers and icon conservators is proposed.The paper will conclude with the investigation of synthetic and organicadhesives used for the treatment of fragile historic and archaeologicaltextiles considered for use by the icon conservator. Related casestudies will also evaluate the application of these adhesives to theartefacts in various chronological periods by different workshops. This will benefit further research into the adhesive treatments that may beconsidered in the future.

This paper is restricted to the fabric component of icons and does notcover canvas easel painting dealt with in other scholarly texts.

Για να δείτε και να κατεβάσετε όλο το άρθρο πατήστε εδώ: Christos Karydis, The Fabric Support in Portable Icons: Deterioration, Documentation & Conservation

Ευχαριστίες: Χρ. Καρύδης

 

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