Conservation restoration works on organ paintings

Vittora Carpaccia

Conservation and restoration work on the organ paintings by the Venetian Renaissance master Vittorio Carpaccio from the Church of the Assumption in Koper began in 2010 with an examination of the painting and restoration materials.

Text by Barbka Gosar Hirci

Vittore Carpaccio, painting after conservation and restoration work.
Vittore Carpaccio, Massacre of Innocent Children, 418 x 147 cm, tempera on canvas; condition of the painting during probing of darkened non-original varnishes.

Presentation in the Temple and Massacre of Innocent Children

are the remains of the right wing of a monumental Renaissance organ and were painted in 1523.They are the last dated works by the Venetian painter.The painting technique is very different from the series of paintings kept by the Academy in Venice. They are painted in thinner layers of colour and the texture of the canvas is more pronounced. Vittore must have been aware of the fact that the paintings would be a rich visual decoration of a musical instrument, and he adapted his technique accordingly.

Underneath the image of the massacre of innocent children was a portrait of a little girl

The painting technology in Vittore's organ paintings is very different from the series of paintings kept by the Academy in Venice. They are painted in thinner layers of colour and the texture of the canvas is more pronounced. Vittore must have been aware of the fact that the paintings would be a rich visual decoration of a musical instrument, and he adapted his technique accordingly.

The surface of the paintings was extremely dark before the conservation and restoration work, which began intensively in 2015. After finding documents on past restoration work, conducting research and probing the darkened layers, it was clear that the two colourfully painted motifs were underneath the darkness. The removal of the darkened varnish was one of the most challenging interventions in terms of ethics, aesthetics and conservation and restoration technology, and was successfully completed in 2018. The newly framed paintings will enrich the art decoration of the Cathedral Church in Koper.

Vittore Carpaccio, Massacre of Innocent Children, 418 x 147 cm, tempera on canvas, painting after conservation and restoration.Vittore Carpaccio, Presentation in the Temple, 421 x 126 cm, tempera on canvas, painting after conservation and restoration.

B. Carpaccio altarpiece, Koper Cathedral

Conservation and restoration works on the altarpiece by Benedetto Carpaccio

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