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by Archaeology Newsroom

The restoration of the Virgin Enthroned icon of the Benaki Museum, Athens

This icon, measuring 87×65 cm., dates from the second half of the fifteenth century and although unsigned is ascribed to the hagiographer Andreas Ritzos. All research methods and facilities available in the restoration laboratory of the Benaki Museum have been employed for the diagnosis, location of damages and study of the painting technique, while the pigments’ analysis was carried out in the centre of Nuclear Research “Democritus”. The existance of overpaintings executed in various times and the extensive damage of the wood due to wood-eating insects were the two major problems of the icon. Therefore, special effort was made during restoration for the removal of all over-paintings so that the painting could appear in its original form The missing parts of the deteriorated wood were substituted with balsa wood, while the entire wooden painting support was saturated with synthetic resin. Finally, an attempt for colouring was made only in the areas where both the painting and its preparation were fully damaged.