Alonso Berruguete_Reinassance Sculptor - Page 89

Figs. 68 & 69 Details of estofado on tree trunk.
The tree trunk was gilded and then covered with a brown paint;
the surface was scratched with a stylus in parallel lines with 1-2 mm.
intervals around the trunk, concentrically encircling the knotholes
(figs. 68 & 69).
The decision to retrieve the original surface of the sculpture
through the removal of subsequent layers of polychromy was the
result of rigorous analysis and extensive testing. It was ascertained
that a significant amount of the original surface was intact, and that
it was of considerably greater quality than the subsequent layers.
The removal of subsequent surface layers had to be achieved without
threatening the integrity of the original polychromy. The process
was conducted by hand with the use of an optical microscope
and scalpel, using 6-16 x magnification, after the sculpture was
reinforced in areas around cracks due to wood movement in order to
protect the paint layers from unnecessary flaking.
Grossly-executed plaster fills in the horizontal section between
the base and the trunk behind the saint’s supporting leg were
successfully removed, as was the yellow residue which coated part
of the original surface (fig 70).
Fig. 70 Detail of yellow residue coating
The green overpaint on the tree trunk could be successfully removed
part of the original surface.
using a scalpel and solvents [Acetone, Ethanol, turpentine oil] (fig. 71).
Fig. 67 Detail
The process was perfected on small test areas in order to make sure
Fig. 71. Results after partial removal
of saint’s head.
that none of the well-preserved areas would be harmed or altered.
of green overpaint from tree trunk.


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