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Thursday, June 1 • 10:00am - 10:30am
(Paintings) Our Lady of Mercy: the discovery of a hanging scroll painting by José Gil de Castro

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The painting "Our Lady of Mercy with St. Peter Nolasco and St. Raymond Nonnatus” signed by artist José Gil de Castro and dated in 1817, arrived to the Paintings Conservation Laboratory of the National Center for Conservation and Restoration in Santiago, Chile, for treatment during 2015. The author, Peruvian artist José Gil de Castro, lived in Chile and Argentina on the first decades of the XIX century, portraying the colonial Spanish aristocracy at first, and the leaders of the independence of these countries, later. Given the importance of this artist to Chilean painting, this work was chosen to be included in the exhibition "José Gil de Castro, artist of Liberators” that would open some months later at the Fine Arts Museum in Santiago, Chile, with paintings belonging to collections from Chile, Peru and Argentina. The painting as well as the frame presented some damages. Small losses and big horizontal distortions were observed. The lower section, where the signature, date and a text are located, presented long horizontal tears. there were also areas where the writing was confusing and difficult to read, and overpainting on the text. The varnish was quite yellow. The painting was not attached to a stretcher, but nailed to a plank of wood. After it was dismounted and analyzed, the team that was working on it realized it was not the regular easel painting, but a hanging scroll painting, as several others that are shown on different portraits made by Gil de Castro. On them, a small painting of a Virgin or Christ hangs on the wall, behind the person portrayed. This discovery changed completely the treatments that have been thought at the beginning, before dismounting the painting. What had been initially considered damages transformed into traces of use, and they needed to be preserved for further study of this rare type of painting. Finally, it was decided to perform treatments only on aspects that made difficult the understanding and appreciation of the image or were producing material damage: elimination of the yellowed varnish, application of welded stitches to tears, leveling of the surface, chromatic integration and application of a new protection layer. Since this is one of the few paintings of this type known in Chile so far, the idea is that when it is finally exhibited the public will be able to see the particular characteristics of a hanging scroll painting.

avatar for Monica Perez

Monica Perez

Conservator, Centro Nacional de Conservacion y Restauracion
I studied Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Objects in 2003 and started working at the National Center for Conservation and Restoration in 2007. I participated in several interesting projects, like the restoration of a series of colonial paintings on the life of Saint Teresa... Read More →

Thursday June 1, 2017 10:00am - 10:30am CDT
Regency C Ballroom Level, West Tower