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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Some UV protection!

by Conservation

8/13/2020

Varnish removal , paintings conservation , Nicolas Lancret , French Rococo , rococo pastoral , 17th century French painting , ultraviolet , UV light , behind the scenes

Conservation of “The Swing” by Nicolas Lancret is moving along.  Removal of the surface coatings has proceeded from right to left, and now our paintings conservator is working in the tricky area around the red-coated gentlemen.  Here’s where technical photography can be an important tool in the conservation of paintings.  Propped on the easel with the painting is a digital image of ‘The Swing’ that was taken before treatment, in ultraviolet light.  The chemical solution being used to dissolve the coatings will also remove retouching.

The darker smudges on the UV image, in the lower left quadrant of the scene, are clues that retouching is present. Knowing where to expect retouch paint is always important in paintings conservation and, in this case, the UV image provides just that.