Title Bird
School Germany
Date 1578
Material Paper
Technique Woodcut, painting
Size 302х251 mm
Conservator(s) Marina Frolova
Workshop Paper Сonservation

The illustrated woodcut "Bird" by an unknown artist was got to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts from the collection of S. Klepikov in 1978.

The print is an example of the so-called "flyers" which was printed in German printers during the Renaissance. These leaflets, which replaced manuscripts, informed town residents about important political events, natural phenomena and miracles of all kinds, and contained sermons, pamphlets, moral teachings, etc. The precursors of newspapers like this one were printed on a quarter-page and had a long table of contents in order to cause a sensation.

The text of our leaflet compares the appearance in the town of Cala on the Jewish Passover of 1578 of a bird "from an unknown country", to a "comet with a long tail", sent by God, "to appreciate His wondrous signs".

Reasons for the arrival of the print in the restoration workshop were deformations, breaks, losses, stains and soiling. The paints used to colour the print proved to be sensitive to water, so traditional water treatment, which can loosen stains and smudges, was not possible. The work on the piece was also complicated by the brown-green pigment containing copper ions which in the presence of moisture could have deteriorated the paper and intensified the process of cellulose degradation. In view of these circumstances we used gel techniques, which allowed us to affect the stains locally, with minimal wetting. For the print we used cyclododecane[1], which prevents the paint layer from bleeding during the treatments.


[1] Циклододекан — относится к группе насыщенных углеводородов пленкообразующий материал, в реставрации используется в качестве водоотталкивающего фиксатива, в течение нескольких дней сублимируется, не оставляя следов.