Juan de Mesa_Master of Passion - Page 116

The same reasoning was applied to the small losses to the support
on the loincloth, and their reconstruction was judged unnecessary.
The intervention was carried out with techniques and materials
guaranteeing the feasibility of new interventions in the future to
safeguard or restore the work.
As for the polychromy, the added layers were removed (figs. 85 & 86).
The uneven way these had been applied called for the use of
different cleaning solutions according to the area to be treated.
Three consecutive cleaning operations were done on the flesh
tones, with different products in varying degrees of dilution
(figs. 87 and 88). Elimination of these layers on the face was done
with the aid of a binocular lens and not all of the repaintings were
removed, only the larger ones with a significant tonal variation,
Fig. 85 Juan de Mesa, Cristo de la Agonía, detail of a test patch during the
found on only moderately deteriorated areas of the polychromy.
cleaning of the torso.
The delicate state of the polychromy’s conservation precluded the
use of mechanical action in conjunction with chemical cleaning,
which made this less effective (figs. 88 & 90).
To fix the polychromed layers to the figure, a natural adhesive and
consolidating substance (‘colleta italiana’) was employed, applied
with heat and pressure. As well as the areas which were obviously
lacking adhesion, all the gaps in the polychromy were fixed as
a preventive measure. After this consolidation, plastering and
smoothing were applied to the gaps using a mix based on calcium
sulphate and animal glue.
Chromatic filling in of the gaps was done by an initial colouring
with a spot colour10 and water technique. As a norm in this
process, a technique was used which made the intervention easy
to differentiate from the original at first sight. The delicate state
of conservation on the face and its many losses discouraged both
Fig. 86 Juan de Mesa, Cristo de la Agonía, macrophotograph of a test patch
plastering and filling.
during cleaning.
Lastly, an overall varnishing was done, applying a light
Fig. 87 Juan de Mesa,
layer of varnish to make good and provide a final filling in
Cristo de la Agonía,
of chromatic gaps, applying colour with a light addition of
detail of the upper
pigments to the varnish.
torso during cleaning.


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