CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

New Publications About Conservation Practices: ‘Dirt and Dirt Removal’ and ‘Varnish Removal’

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) has published two publications about conservation practices: Dirt and Dirt Removal and Varnish Removal. These publications are the first in an online series of six brochures created for conservators of canvas and panel paintings wishing to keep up with the rapidly advancing techniques in their field. The two brochures will help practicing conservators gain a better comprehension of the complex theories and practices behind the removal of dirt and varnish.

Conservation practice has developed at an astounding pace. This knowledge is concentrated within a few large institutions with the capabilities to take major steps in the development and application of new methods. Smaller and medium-sized museums meanwhile do not have the resources to hire a permanent conservator for their collections, and often send paintings to be restored externally. For those not employed at large institutions, accessing such knowledge can be difficult. These brochures are designed to bridge this gap.

The need for this reference material became apparent during a series of masterclasses and conferences, organized in the period 2012-2020 by the Foundation for Cultural Inventory (SCI) in India, Russia and Cuba. These gatherings, focusing on mutual exchange and deepening knowledge in relation to the local contexts, were organized in association with SRAL – The Conservation Institute, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), and Dutch embassies in the partner countries of the International Heritage Cooperation program.

The brochures are:

  1. Dirt and Dirt Removal (download the PDF)
  2. Varnish Removal (download the PDF)
  3. Consolidation of Flaking Paint (expected in 2022)
  4. Filling Losses in Paint (expected in 2022)
  5. Structural Conservation of Canvas and Panels (expected in 2022)
  6. Varnishing and Inpainting (expected in 2022)

The brochures have been written under the auspices and financial support of the International Heritage Cooperation programme of the RCE. All brochures will appear online in the course of 2022.