Unique paint layer of plaster casts from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

Title Unique paint layer of plaster casts from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Conservator(s) Shashlova Olyesya

Workshop Objects Conservation

The unique collection of casts created by Ivan Tsvetaev offers a variety of expressive forms of fine art, spanning from Antiquity to the Renaissance. The outstanding copies he collected were commissioned from various parts of Europe. All exhibits bear the original stamps of the workshops where they were made, and show us different techniques and approaches in making casts, from structural to decorative features. Imitations of materials vary from marble and precious woods to precious metals. The casts have undergone numerous changes in the course of their life, such as the loss of the paint layer and renovations varying in the degree of execution. The casts have been completely repainted and suffered rough retouching and fillings, methods that were far from science-based. This is largely due to the fact that the paint layer of plaster casts and casts themselves were perceived at a certain point in time as being of minor importance and not having a high artistic value.

Conservators worked with the exhibits in the following ways: consolidation of the paint layer in places of peeling and blistering, removal of heavy surface soiling and glue residues, glueing of fragments of the casts, repairing foundation losses, retouching the ground in places of losses and abrasions.

It was necessary to remove stubborn stains evenly and retain the thin layer separating the paint layer.

Thus we now have the opportunity to take a more thoughtful approach to the issue of preserving plaster casts and the original paint layer, to study the paint layer in more detail and to examine the various decorative techniques of imitating materials