Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Cleaning Complete

Part 8 of Conserving a Canaletto

After many hours and consultations with Timothy, cleaning is complete. I am always amazed at how much more one sees of a picture once the discolored varnish is removed—subtle details in the composition become visible and the picture's overall sense of depth is enhanced.

As suggested in previous posts, the cleaning was a compromise. It was a challenge to evenly remove the discolored restorer’s varnish and only some of the residual coating in the paint interstices. In some cases I had to leave more in the paint troughs due to solubility of the paint. I will have to address those areas during the restoration phase so the picture is tonally consistent overall when the treatment is complete.

This post is one in a multi-part series by Denver Art Museum staff on a long lost painting located in our collections. Find links to more from the series.

Image credit: Giovanni Antonio Canal, called il Canaletto. Venice: The Molo from the Bacino di S. Marco, about 1724. Oil on canvas. Bequest of Charles Edwin M. Stanton, 2009.336.

James Squires was the paintings conservator at the Denver Art Museum.