Structural treatments aim at restoring damage of the support of a work of art such as tears, holes, punctures etc.. Treatments may also involve flattening a deformed support (eg. moisture treatments), to provide reinforcement (eg. lining, strip-lining, loose lining, backing), to protect the support and delay its future degradation.
Structural treatments - infestation The support of this icon was severely damaged by woodworm to such an extent that parts of the support were completly lost (lower corners).
Conservation treatment included prevention of future attack by vermin, the stabilisation of the channels carved out by woodworm and reconstruction of the missing parts of the support using materials close to the original. Further deterioration of the wooden support and consequent loss of pictorial matter through delamination, cracking or fracturing were thus prevented.
Structural treatments - tear mending Tears are the most common dammage to canvas paintings. Repairs are essential not only for aesthetic reasons. Structural dammage inevitably leads to deterioration of the painting, eventually causing deformations as well as losses to the paint layer.
The picture shows an example of a tear-reapair. Here the reapair was carried out with the use of a binocular. Canvas threads were inserted to recreate the continuity of the weave.
Structural treatments - flattening Deformation of a painting can seriously alter the visual perception of a painting. Deformed supports can eventually lead to cracking, flaking and losses of the paint layer. Flattening treatments, which usually involves the use of controlled moisture can be used to rectify deformation of the support.
In the picture above, the painting is humidified by slowly raising the relative humidity in the enclosed environment. The relative humidity is monitored with a hygrometer.
On the bottom picture, the painting is flattened on a low pressure table, allowing a low and uniform pressure to be applied on the whole painting.
Structual treatments - flattening Deformation treatment of large scale painting requires sometimes innovative solutions. The illustration above shows deformation of a 25 square meter painting caused by inappropriate storage. To achieve the flattening treatment, strips of nonwoven fabric were adhered to the edges of the painting. A system using metal rods, accommodated in the adhered stripes and pegs allowing to adjust the tension every 10 cm on the edge of the canvas made it possible to flatten the painting progressively.