Skip to content

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Phew!

by Conservation


Murillo , paintings , paintings conservation , CAMConservation , framing

The last step of conserving the large 7’ x 5’ painting by Murillo has arrived.  It is being framed before being packed up and sent out on loan. 

Because the frame for the painting is rather fragile, our expert carpentry team has fabricated a custom-finished temporary frame for the upcoming travels.  Many consultations --- and measurements --- have been done in the last six months with our conservator, our carpenters, our painters, and our curator.  And finally, the day arrived to see the results.

First the frame was laid face down on sawhorses, showing the new custom stretcher for the painting.  Self-adhesive felt tape is used to line the inside edge of the frame to protect the freshly conserved front surface.  

With everyone hoping it fits, the painting was laid face down in the frame opening.  Shims were added around the sides of the stretcher to hold it firmly --- but not too tightly --- in place.  Steel plates were added to the frame to hold the painting in place.  

A lightweight backing board was attached to the back of the stretcher.  Here made of FomeCor™ and cardboard, the board protects the reverse of the canvas. 

Finally, the painting was lifted upright for viewing.  Final adjustments made sure that it’s squarely and securely in place, with no bare edges showing.  

And phew, it’s sent off to be crated!   

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Spain, 1617-1682), Saint Thomas of Villanueva Dividing His Clothes Among Beggar Boys, c. 1667, oil on canvas, Bequest of Mary M. Emery, 1927.412