Conservation of animal depictions by Giorgio Liberale

Before conservation

After conservation

Giorgio Liberale
Sea fauna of the Adriatic Sea*
Goerz 1562/63-1576, Innsbruck 1576/77-1579/80

Giorgio Liberale from Udine (ca. 1527-1579/80) painted many nature studies for arche-duke Ferdinand II. of Tyrol consisting mostly  of  images of fish, mussels, crabs and other species of sea fauna. A zoological documentation of water, earth and air in images was originally planned. This large project was never completed. The manuscript collection houses 100 images of  sea fauna. Most parchments were painted on both sides.

The gouache paintings on calf parchment were heavily distorted. Some sheets showed the results of severe water damage. The wish to improve both condition and storage was the starting point for a two and a half year conservation project of these images.

The 100 single sheets were surface cleaned. Mechanical damage like tears and lacunae were secured. In order to flatten parchment sheets with severe planar distortion, these sheets were exposed to high humidity while taking care that the paint layers were not at risk. The humidified paintings were dried under tension. After a longer drying process the paintings were mounted in double sided mats to make both sides accessible. Parchment is a material which reacts very sensitively to changes of humidity. The mounts should restrict light movements but allow strong movements without damage to the object.

last update 9/3/2015