Minimal Intervention: The hidden beauty of a 19th century iconostasis cross

Author: Teodora Raicu
Mentors: Cristina-Maria Dăneasă, Assistant Professor; Márta-Júlia Guttmann, Assistant Professor

Institutions: Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu (Romania) – topic was completed at this institution Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy) – currently studying
Study programmes: Conservation-restoration study and Conservation Science and Technology for Cultural Heritage Master’s Programme, 1st and 4th year of study
Specialization: Visual arts

Art conservation requires a deep knowledge of both the artist and the materials that he used. The 19th-century iconostasis cross from the Fofeldea village found in Sibiu county, Romania, had suffered from an insect attack, being in a critical state of conservation. Therefore, firstly, since the artist that painted it was known, whose name was Popa Ioan Grigorievici, the artwork was compared to his other pieces-of-art to find some similarities not only from an aesthetical point of view but also from a chemical one, focusing on whether the pigments that the artist used were the same throughout his career. The materials that the cross was composed of were analyzed through the use of methods such as XRF and ATR FT-IR and then the conservation and restoration process was initiated, which was centered on the principle of minimal intervention. It was decided not to hide the traces of the biological attack to keep the history of the cross. It is of great importance for the object to be in a stable state, but its meaning and the events that it went through should not be erased.

Speaker's biography
TEODORA RAICU was born in Hațeg, Hunedoara County, Romania on January 26, 1999. From 2017 to 2020 she was a Bachelor’s degree student at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, with a passion for the scientific aspects within the field of conservation and restoration. Thus, for the Master’s degree she decided to dvelve into the study of science applied to cultural heritage at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, where she is currently studying. She volunteered for various restoration projects in order to enhance her skills and also as a translator for Khan Academy’s history of art articles from English to Romanian.