ASSESSMENT OF SURFACE AND STRUCTURAL GRADUAL DISTURBANCES AFFECTING THE RESISTANCE AND DURABILITY OF WORKS OF ART
The Flaking of Convictions, is a fictional plot story introducing a chain of disturbances (symptoms of change) and diseases listed below, impacting the life expectancy of works of art.
They are reality based (consultation of condition and restoration reports) and scaled in six eventful episodes.
There is a wide variety of disturbances leading to diseases, and our list merely reflects some. Indeed, the plot story is the prelude of a coming comprehensive anthology of disturbances.
The scope of analysis deals with organic materials, and components including inks, dyes, pigments, glazes, oils and binders, accountable on four main types of supports :
paper, canvas, wood, panel painting.
Acrylic paints and synthetic varnishes have been disregarded for the time being.
The protagonists of the plot story involve various types of works of art subject to levelling up intensity of degradation (the velocity rate is not indicated here).
The generic paper support includes old leather bound books, books of Hours, Graduals, Illumination books, vellum illuminated manuscripts, drawings, and engravings.
The wood support includes paintings on wood, gilt wood, a longcase clock and furniture. Secondary protagonists are miniatures on ivory, glass objects and marble sculptures. Glass disturbances refer mainly to glass mirrors.
• Dark brown spots (paper)
• Pale stains
• Foxing & browning
• Verdigris staining & discoloration
• Sulfuration of lead white
• Ink leaking & bleading
• Self destructive iron gall ink
• Dirt ingrained between paper fibres
• Surface scratches- abrasion
• Fractures- injuries - holes & missing parts
• Spine injuries & cracked joints
• Missing leaves
• Paint dragging or removal
• Network of cracks (crack pattern)
• Surface ingrained dust (canvas/panel painting)
• Infiltrated cracks
• Coating deterioration
• Surface yellowed varnish
• Remains of an old degraded varnish
• Uneven degradation and darkening of repaints /retouchings & fillings
• Surface tensions
• Surface flattening of canvas and/or deformations
• Flexing of wood (expansion & contraction in panel painting & furniture)
• Displacement of veneer
• Mixed oxidation reactions (binders & pigments)
• Dispersion of unstable pigments (arsenic trioxide, smalt, chrome yellows)
• Migration of lead & zinc, copper or potassium soaps
• Aggregate structures formation
• Entrapment of bone black pigment
• Brittleness & delamination in paint layers
• Increased porosity of the paint film
• Loss of vibrancy
• Transparency of paint & loss of opacity
• Color shifts & chromatic alteration (discordances)
• Discoloration & fading
• Blackening of pigments (vermilion, lead white)
• Blanching (greyed areas)
• Loss of adhesive strengh of support /loss of cohesion (panel painting, canvas, metal)
• Flaking of paint
• Loss of paint
• Alkaline droplets on glass (miniatures)
• Darkening of mirror glass.