Cycles of Life: The Four Seasons Tapestries | by Cleveland Museum of Art | CMA Thinker

Robin Hanson, Conservator of Textiles and Sarah Scaturro, Eric and Jane Nord Chief Conservator

Determine 1: Three of the 4 seasons tapestries on exhibit in the Arlene M. and Arthur S. Holden Textile Gallery (gallery 234)

For the exhibition Cycles of Daily life: The 4 Seasons Tapestries, the CMA’s Textile Conservator Robin Hanson and Main Conservator Sarah Scaturro took on dual roles — that of exhibition curators as properly as conservators. This established of four tapestries, woven in Paris in the mid-to late 1700s, is based on Flemish designs from 100 several years earlier. Woven of silk, wool, and metal threads, the tapestries array in sizing from eight-and-a-fifty percent-feet sq. to 8 by virtually 13 feet.

This task commenced 15 decades back when Robin participated in a three-working day survey of 36 tapestries in Cleveland’s collection alongside with Belgian tapestry specialist Yvan Maes De Wit. The intention of this survey was to rank the tapestries in the assortment by quality, and then to ascertain the amount of money of conservation cure necessary to make them ready for exhibition. Centered on that study, the Four Seasons Tapestries were chosen as the maximum priority for treatment method. Two Learn of Art candidates in the joint CMA/CWRU Artwork History and Museum Experiments undertook artwork historic investigate on the tapestries. Their study assisted to more confirm this set’s relevance and present facts that is now out there to the general public through our Selection Online system.

As soon as funding was secured to deal with them, these 4 tapestries, alongside with four other folks in the collection, ended up despatched to Mechelen, Belgium, in May perhaps 2018 for treatment method at Royal Brands De Wit all eight returned to Cleveland in September 2019 at the time procedure was full. Despite the fact that the CMA has a textile conservation lab on-website, managing tapestries necessitates a massive space, specialized tools, and a crew of textile conservators qualified in tapestry conservation to undertake the procedure. Managing the tapestries in Cleveland’s textile lab would not have been doable. Cleveland’s romance with De Wit extends back again to the late 1990s, when the established of eight Dido and Aeneas tapestries on display screen in the Armor Court docket (fig. 2) was despatched to Mechelen for remedy. Since then, 20 tapestries in Cleveland’s assortment have now been treated by De Wit.

Determine 2: Dido and Aeneas tapestries on display screen in the Armor Court

De Wit utilizes a two-action stitching system. Initially, weak areas are stabilized to enhance the tapestry by placing patches of cotton or linen powering spots of decline. Uncovered warps are stitched to the patch utilizing a matching thread. Often the patches are small, but occasionally they may well cover significant sections if an place is significantly destroyed. Then arrives restoration — which is the addition of new components to visually comprehensive an place. New thread is stitched on top rated of the patches to entire the photograph. When seen from afar, the repairs are harmonious and almost indiscernible, but if viewed up near, the new stitches are visually diverse, enabling viewers to differentiate authentic pieces of the tapestry from restorations. You see listed here the method: on the remaining is the broken area, in the middle the decline has been stabilized, and on the correct you see the restored location (figs. 3a–c).

Determine 3a: In advance of treatment method. Figure 3b: Throughout treatment. Figure 3c: Just after therapy.

In addition to conservation treatment method alone, conservators undertake composed and photographic documentation of objects becoming treated, equally right before remedy commences, all through therapy, and after treatment method is full. They also undertake technical analysis to superior fully grasp the objects they are treating. The wool and silk threads were identified working with a polarized light-weight microscope. Dye examination was finished in collaboration with the conservation researchers at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Researchers recognized normal dyes sourced from both of those plants and insects that are indicative of components in use throughout the time the tapestries had been produced. In the same way, the metallic threads had been analyzed at the Swagelok Center for Area Investigation of Resources, positioned inside the University of Engineering at Scenario Western Reserve College. Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) detected a silver and gold alloy with trace amounts of copper in the metal strips wrapped all around a silk core, which is a normal design for metallic threads in the 1700s (figs. 4b and 4c).These collaborations extend Cleveland’s capabilities in the realm of scientific investigation, and in the long run advantage all the establishments included through the sharing of knowledge.

Determine 4a: Photomicrograph at 40x magnification exhibiting the flat metallic strip wound close to a yellow silk core. Determine 4b: Backscatter Electron (BSE) detail at 1000x of the metal floor. Determine 4c: BSE impression at 350x magnification from SEM-EDS.
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