The Art of Repair
September 24, 2014 8:29 AM   Subscribe

When the painting of an Old Master starts cracking and flaking off, what is the best way to make it good? Should we reverently pick up the flakes of paint and surreptitiously glue them back on again? Is it honest to display a Raphael held together with PVA glue? When Renaissance paint fades or discolours, should we touch it up to retain at least a semblance of what the artist intended, or surrender to wabi-sabi?
posted by ellieBOA (8 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
YES I am so glad that the article delivered on my hopes for a comparison to the Wrecked Jesus of Zaragoza.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:42 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

British aristocrats were unabashed at their elbow patches — in truth more prevention than cure, since they protected shooting jackets from wear caused by the shotgun butt.
If you're firing a shotgun with the butt against your elbow, you might be doing it wrong.
A traditional shooting jacket has a shoulder patch to prevent wear from the butt- the matching elbow patches are for wear from, you know, elbows.
posted by zamboni at 8:49 AM on September 24, 2014 [14 favorites]

Smashed ceramics would be stuck back together with a strong adhesive made from lacquer and rice glue, the web of cracks emphasised with coloured lacquer. Sometimes the coating was mixed or sprinkled with powdered silver or gold and polished with silk so that the joins gleamed; a bowl or container repaired in this way would typically be valued more highly than the original.

posted by malocchio at 8:51 AM on September 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

Here's the last time we talked about kintsugi. Sugru makes a late appearance.
posted by zamboni at 8:59 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Give me a Haynes manual and a toolbox big enough, and I will fix the world.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:15 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

the Wrecked Jesus of Zaragoza

Yo, Zaragoza is a city of 700,000 inhabitants while Borja where the ecce mono debacle happened is a town of 5,000 in the province of Zaragoza. If you come to Zaragoza, you can enjoy murals painted by Francisco de Goya. Properly restored, of course.

OTOH, if you need some factoid to remember the town, Borja was the original hometown of a family that won lands in Valencia and from where some of their members jumped on to Rome.
posted by sukeban at 9:48 AM on September 24, 2014

> If you're firing a shotgun with the butt against your elbow, you might be doing it wrong.

You get some wear at the elbows when you're in the prone position taking potshots at poachers. poachers, yum
posted by jfuller at 10:39 AM on September 24, 2014

YES! A new glue! (Sugru. I am a duck tape/glue fanatic.)

This article did a nice job of discussing both High Art and restoration/repair in our daily lives. Nice.

When I was in Rome, the Sistine Chapel was closed for renovations. Now that was an interesting debate.

As I understand it, it wasn't until the 18th century that people began to see the beauty in entropy. (Ruined castles, mainly.) Now: ruin porn, Detroit porn…around 1970 I loved taking photos in abandoned factories, but quickly realized it was pretty cliched, so I gave that up, except for my own private enjoyment. But restoring the Sistine Chapel: probably a good idea. Now, the restoration of ancient Buddhist/Hindu temples to their original garish colors is obviously out of the question…I could go on and on, but thanks for the article leading to a new glue: I can't wait to try it.
posted by kozad at 5:15 PM on September 24, 2014

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