Replica of Raphael’s Madonna della Seggiola

PROJECT DATE : 2012
project
Replica of Raphael’s Madonna della Seggiola
client
Private Collection
services
Paintings Conservation

Overview

Raphael’s Madonna della Seggiola (Madonna of the Chair) was originally painted in c.1513-1514. The work depicts Mary holding the Christ child on her lap, with an infant John the Baptist watching from one side. This mid-late 19th century reproduction skilfully captures a sense of the original, in both colour and form. Like the original it is painted with oil on panel and is framed in an ornate, hand-crafted frame with a circular opening. The frame has its own unique qualities, with angel faces subtly carved in each corner.

Condition

On arrival at ICS, there was extensive surface dirt and dust across the surface of the painting. It had been overpainted in sections and appeared quite dark and discoloured. In addition, the surface coating and varnish had lost its consistency and was yellowed, crazed and blanched in certain areas.

The nails holding the painting into the frame were heavily rusted and had stained the timber. The frame itself – which had originally been fully covered in gold leaf – had been overpainted with gold paint at some point. Over time the overpaint had faded and tarnished and was flaking in places. Some of the moulding was heavily cracked and detaching from the main body of the frame, while some areas were missing altogether and needed to be replaced.

Treatment

Both the painting and frame underwent a full conservation treatment, which included:

  • Surface cleaning (dry and aqueous) both the painting and frame to remove surface dirt and dust
  • Removing the varnish to correct the overall colouring of the composition
  • Mechanically removing overpaints
  • Applying an isolation surface coating and infilling abrasions
  • Retouching the damaged media where necessary
  • Applying a final layer of varnish to give the painting an overall consistent surface sheen
  • Removing the gold overpaint on the frame to reveal the gilded surface underneath
  • Consolidation of the frame where necessary and re-joining the unstable moulding
  • Recreating the damaged frame mouldings and re-carving the missing lower-left corner
  • Regilding areas of lost surface finish and carrying out a final polish
  • Reframing the painting using Volara rebate tape and affixing a new backing board and hanging devices

project
Replica of Raphael’s Madonna della Seggiola
client
Private Collection
services
Paintings Conservation
Before Treatment
After Treatment

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