Cleaning of the Decorative Frame From the Church of the Holy Cross in Split: Examining the Effectiveness of Enzymes

Author: Petra Perlain
Mentor: Sagita Mirjam Sunara, Assistant Professor

MA in conservation-restoration
Arts Academy, University of Split
*Project realized in academic years 2011/2012 and 2012/2013*

PERLAIN Petra-mSummary

The author discusses the problems of cleaning an 18th-century decorative frame from the church of the Holy Cross. The study was a part of her Master's thesis. The frame, which was originally decorated with mother-of-pearl inlays and ornaments painted with glazes on metal leaf, was overpainted several times. In 2002, an attempt was made to stabilize the paint layer and to remove the overpaints, however without any success. In 2011, enzymes' effectiveness in removing the overpaint was examined. Available conservation literature was studied in order to get an insight into the use of enzymes in the cleaning of polychrome surfaces. Stratigraphic analysis of the decorative frame was made and the structure of the original and of the overpainted layers was thoroughly studied at the Analytical Laboratory of the Conservation-Restoration Department of the Arts Academy in Split.  The dating of the object to the 18th century, combined with the results of the UV fluorescence analysis, narrowed down the scope of the reference materials. The presentation will end with an overview of the conservation-restoration works done in the past two years (2011 – 2013).


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