The support

 

The cracks closed up using “v”-shaped pieces of wood

System of moving bars that takes account of the natural movement of the wood

The restoration of The Purification of the Virgin, painted by Pedro de Campaña in 1556, is possibly one of the most complex projects of its kind to have been undertaken by the Museo del Prado’s restorers.

The exceptionally large size of the painting (330cm high x 240cm wide and 4cm thick) as well as its weight (almost 300 kilos), combined with the way that the panels of this vertical painting are arranged horizontally, has made it exceptionally fragile and very difficult and hazardous to move.

The cradling system was removed in order to be able to close up almost 45 metres of cracks using a system of “V”-shaped elements that have allowed for the creation of small, wedge-shaped openings following the lines of the cracks into which small pieces of wood of a corresponding shape have been fitted. These pieces of wood are of the same type and cut and are around 200 years old. In order to make this process more exact these pieces are extremely small (5 or 6 cm), thus reducing the amount of adhesive required.

A new type of supporting structure has been designed, consisting of four, mobile cross-bars. The bars have a complex system of grooves and springs inside them that have made the panel much stronger while also allowing the wood of the planks to move in all directions in response to changes in relative humidity.

 
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