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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Restoration of Photis Kontoglou’s Panaghia Glykophilousa

There are quite a few works of art both in Greek and Western hagiography, which have been damaged not only by the usual environmental factors, like humidity, but also by malign human intervention, such as inappropriate restoration. This article deals with the restoration of the portable icon of Panaghia Glykophylousa, painted by Photis Kontoglou. The restoration of the work was quite problematic: the wood panel of the icon was swollen, owing to the humidity of the environment, and maltreated, when it was attempted to reaffix the two sections of the painting on a new wooden surface. The edge of the icon was over-painted, and when this later layer of painting was removed in the course of restoration, it was revealed that the new wooden panel had been covered with a plasticized canvas, before the original painting was transferred on it. The painted surface was covered in the past with a probably synthetic varnish, insoluble to mild organic dissolvers. For this reason the sections of underpainting and painting were fixed and the painting surface was cleaned mechanically. The reconstruction of the painting sections was done by stages for the best completion of the lost painting, Needless to say, that special care was taken for the preventive preservation of the icon.