From perruque to pinkie
Four marble busts in the KMSKA collection are receiving conservation treatment at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA).
Welcome to our restoration studio on location. The scaffolding is still up at the museum, so our conservators are camping out here. This is where the works they are restoring lie, stand and hang. Armed with brushes, pigments and cotton buds, they’re working hard to get the works ready for you. Come and take a peek backstage!
The conservators treat works from the 15th to the 20th century in the studio. Rogier van der Weyden, for instance, but it could equally well be Rubens or Jordaens. Every era is covered. Works by the likes of Uecker and Meunier are also receiving conservation treatment.
Conservators mostly work alone. But occasionally they need to collaborate and only then do you see just how close a connection they have with the works. Almost inseparable at times. As they clean, retouch and remove overpaints or old varnish, the conservators get closer than anyone to the paint layer. They can work on a single painting for weeks, months and even years.
Personally, I tend to think of the works as my children.
The museum’s storage facility and restoration studio is an exceptional location. A clinical hangar packed with visual inventions from every era and place. Sculpture, paintings, paper and frames are all kept here together. Because frames have to be restored too. It’s not just a question of having the painting or the frame in top condition: the ensemble has to be right as well.
Are you wondering what our curators have been up to while the museum is closed? Watch the other KMSKA Backstage episodes!
A Mals Media production. With thanks to KAAN Architecten, the Support Services Agency, the Cultural Infrastructure Fund, Artes Roegiers and the Flemish Government.