Project Description

Refurbishment and Conservation of Room X
Gallerie dell’Accademia

project
Refurbishment and Conservation of Room X

location
Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

project director
Ministry of Culture, Monuments and Fine Arts
Office of Venice

contractors
Guido Jaccarino, Mariastella Mason, Uni.S.Ve., Venice;
Thomas Nelson, Venice;
Spazioluce, Venice;
Leonardo Gatto, grafiche, Venice

funding
Alvise di Canossa;
Venetian Heritage

start date
January 2012

end date
June 2013

cost
€ 100.000,00

The refurbishment of Room X, carried out from 2012-2013, was aimed to improve the use of this museum gallery, through work carried out on the paintings, the lighting system, the architectural surfaces and the graphics. The project commenced with an in-depth study of the condition of the large paintings in the room. This included eleven important works by Tintoretto, Veronese and Titian. After this study, loose deposits were removed from the paint film using very soft silk brushes and micro-suction devices; localised repairs of small areas of lifting were carried out on the gilt wooden frames and the surface deposits removed mechanically. In particular, on Veronese’s Feast in the House of Levi (which takes up the entire end wall in the room) the impressive frame was restored and the paint film maintained. Detachments and lifting were apparent over almost all of the frame’s surface, which had already caused considerable losses to painted or gilded areas, and there was a thick layer of consistent deposits accompanied by heavy glazing from different periods. Furthermore, the frame was lacking suitable anchoring to the wall and had some areas with structural weakness between its constituent wooden elements. The flakes of paint film and raised gilding were reating sections on the gilt and painted areas were remade, harmonising the imbalances between the parts and the relationship of the frame to Veronese’s masterpiece. The paint surface of the picture was cleaned first with soft feather dusters and then withdry chamois cloths. The lighting in the room was adjusted and enhanced by replacing the lighting units with more powerful ones. To avoid any obvious differences in the lighting with that of Room XI next door, which would have disturbed the visitor when moving between the twin rooms. The decision was made to upgrade the lighting in the second room, too. The structure of the skylights was checked, 192 panes of glass were removed, cleaned and partially replaced, the metal frames were strengthened, maintained and painted and the fastening system repaired and made safe. The labels were replaced with new panels featuring larger, more highly contrasted letters for easier reading and with a short explanatory text in Italian and English. It is now possible to gauge the public response to the new graphics as a means to determine the methods used going forward for renewing the labels throughout the museum. During the maintenance work the room remained open to visitors, apart from some brief periods, so as not to interfere with the museum-guests experience.