The combined use of cross-section analysis and other stratigraphic recording systems in the cleaning of two panel paintings from the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


José Manuel Barros García; Abraham Reina de la Torre; Eva Pérez Marín;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 60, Number 4, p.245-252 (2015)


Cross sections are frequently used in the stratigraphic study of pictorial structures. Thanks to cross sections, it is possible to study and record original and non-original strata that may provide important information regarding the artist's technique and later restoration processes. This information helps conservators design different strategies in processes such as cleaning. However, it is often in cleaning where the advantages and limitations of cross sections become obvious. When dealing with a complex structure, cross sections may not be enough to record in a comprehensive and accurate manner all the strata removed during cleaning. In some cases, the conservator may obtain during cleaning a great amount of stratigraphic information that is not visible in the cross sections. Therefore, it may be necessary to resort to other recording systems, such as the stratigraphic unit recording sheet and the stratigraphic diagram, which are frequently used in archaeological stratigraphy. This article demonstrates how cross-section analysis was combined with stratigraphic study during the cleaning of two panel paintings to gain an improved understanding of their complicated layer structure.