Dilemmas in Removing Old Varnish from the Baroque Painting "Objokovanje" (Lamentation)

Authors: Nives Slemenšek, BA, and Barbara Kogoj, BA
Mentor: Assoc. Professor Lucija Močnik Ramovš

Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art
Specialization: Paintings and Polychrome Sculpture (1st year of the Master's programme)


Nives Slemensek and Barbara KogojThe painting Lamentation from the 18th century is painted in oil technique on linen canvas. After analytical investigation of the paint layer and varnish, we discovered that the painting has two types of final varnish: the first layer of varnish, based on albumen and the second one, based on natural resin. Surface dirt was partially still adhered between the layers and on the top of the final varnish. In the past, consolidation of the paint layer and the ground with Aquazol has been carried out. This intervention had affected our further work. Different cleaning agents and tests were used. While we were doing tests for removing resin varnish, we found out they respond differently to the same agent on different areas. Based on the results, we chose two different cleaning agents for removal of the varnish. Dilemmas, possibilities and methodology for removal of the varnish will be presented in details.

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Short biographies

BARBARA KOGOJ was born in1992 in Ljubljana and has finished high school education at Gimnazija Ledina in 2011. She studied undergraduate program Conservation and restoration of fine art on The Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana and graduated in September 2015. In 2014/15, she participated in the following projects at the Conservation Centre in Ljubljana: conservation of the fresco from St. Frančišek Asiški in Koper and frescoes in Brežice castle, cleaning of mosaics from Celje and conservation and restoration of frescoes in the church of St. Primož in Črna nad Kamnikom. She is now studying master's program at the same academy.

NIVES SLEMENŠEK was born in 1992 in Celje. After finishing high school education at Gimnazija Celje – Center (Department of Art, she continued studying on The Academy of Fine Arts and Design of Ljubljana, where, in 2015, she graduated in program Conservation and restoration of fine art. She is now studying master's program at the same academy, focusing on conservation and restoration of organic materials, with focus on canvas paintings. During education, she participated in conservation and restoration of canvas painting of St. Michael under supervision of assoc. professor mag. Lucija Močnik Ramovš and she got acquainted with conservation and restoration of art on paper, during work experience in National Gallery Ljubljana.