Peaks of paint

Rossella Lari recounts the challenges of 'restoring Pincherle'. "The difficulty of cleaning these paintings can be traced back to Pincherle’s application of color, characterized by relief-like sharpened peaks. They are extremely fragile and, in many cases, already cracked. Environmental dirt has wedged its way into the paintings’ furrows and its removal is dangerous. The risk lies in cleaning the smooth areas of color more than other areas, creating even more contrast with the grooves darkened by dirt. The first phase of restoration included removing as much dirt and dust as possible using a “dry method” followed by micro-aspiration on both sides of the paintings, with the help of soft brushes used repeatedly. With specialized sponges placed on pointed supports, it was possible to trace the recesses of color and remove compact dirt. Finally, when environmental dust was almost entirely eliminated, I was able to begin work on some of the paintings and complete the cleaning phase using tiny cotton swabs soaked in deionized water and placed on the end of picks. Other procedures included the consolidation of instable color, the positioning of wedges after stretching each canvas as much as possible, as well as small-scale stucco work and the subsequent restoration of each pictorial surface."

Text from Rossella Lari's essay 'Restoring Pincherle' in Pincherle and Pacini: Twentieth-century women painters in Florence (The Florentine Press, 2016).

Raphael Mafai's View of Olevano on display at the Museo Novecento