Alterpiece of Saint Nicasius and Saint Sebastian

Department of Mediaeval Antiquities

 

Retablo antes de la restauración

Late Middle Ages. Hispanic Christian kingdoms. Gothic
Master of Saint Nicasius. Dated 1402, comes from the church of St Michael Archangel of Estella, Navarre.
Inventory Nº: 60,608
Material and technique: Tempera painting on wood panel.
145 x 168 x 8/10.5 cm

 

State of Conservation:

This work has warping of the wooden panels making up the altarpiece, as well as the generalised marks of an old attack by xylophagous insects, among which there is also evidence of a recent, active attack.
In the preparation and paint layer, there are cracks and fissures caused by the movement of the backing, which has caused lifting and small, localised holes.

 

Treatment:

Retablo expuesto en la Sala 27

The altarpiece was subjected to an anoxia process to eradicate the biological threat. This is a desinfestation process in a transformed atmosphere with a low oxygen content (anoxia bubble); it is the only cure that can guarantee the death of the insects in all the stages of their biological cycle (egg, larva, pupa and adult) without causing any kind of physical or chemical alteration in the work, while also being completely harmless to people’s health and the environment.

The paint was fixed with Lefranc rabbit-skin glue, Japanese tissue and a thermal spatula. In the largest sheets, as solution of water and alcohol was injected first to facilitate the glue’s penetration. The largest faults were stuccoed and chromatic reintegration then carried out. The plaster primer applied from the back to panel joints was consolidated with rabbit-skin glue and pressure.

Having been restored and exhibited, this work suffered some alterations during its process of adaptation to the environmental conditions of the new exhibition room, these alterations been caused by the movements of the wood and its effects on the paint layer. Because of this, another operation was required, carried out in situ, to eliminate a localised blister in one of the golden areas and carry out point fixing of the paint, especially in the zones where chromatic reintegration had been carried out, reintegration carried out both in this last treatment and in the different restorations undergone throughout the work’s history.