Sunday, September 28, 2014

A R T R E S T O R A T I O N / Colombia

The Traveling Colour Book had the chance to visit the studio of one of the most influential art restorers in Colombia, her name is Maria Cecilia Alvarez. She has a vast story and experience restoring art from different epochs.

This Colombian, paisa from Medellin,  opened her studio and life to us; telling many secrets and anecdotes of her past years. Studied in Florence, Italy during the famous flood of the Arno river, which damaged many relics, paintings, mosaics, ceramics and famous architecture in 1966, since that moment she knew conservation and restoration will become part of her life.  Then moved to Mexico thanks to a scholarship from UNESCO, where she lived 3 years in Churubusco.

Colonial chest made using 'Barniz de pasto' technique 

Alvarez's journey has taken her to different places and to experiment with different materials. Worked and restored famous art pieces from Alejandro Obregón, Franciso de Zurbaran, Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos, especially Colonial painting.

She had the chance to show us impressive work done by restoring different murals and paintings, which she uses various techniques and mediums. For mural restoration, she has used a well known  Italian technique called strappo. This is a technique for detaching frescoes and transferring it to a different surface by using cotton cloth and gauze. This technique has been used since Antiquity, in which cloths were prepared by soaking them in natural glues, then the fresco or painting was covered with the glued cloth and many layers of this cloth were applied. Once it dried, then the strappo techniques took place, which is to peel off or detach it from its original surface. 

Alvarez toured us around her studio. Paintings, canvases, materials, utensils and special lighting where evident everywhere; each with a fascinating story, it was like the 'past was talking' to us.

Photos: Laura Daza