April 20, 2024


Simple Impartial Art

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

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 four seasons tapestries on show in the Arlene M. and Arthur S. Holden Textile Gallery (gallery 234)

For the exhibition Cycles of Existence: The Four Seasons Tapestries, the CMA’s Textile Conservator Robin Hanson and Main Conservator Sarah Scaturro took on twin roles — that of exhibition curators as perfectly as conservators. This set of 4 tapestries, woven in Paris in the mid-to late 1700s, is based mostly on Flemish layouts from 100 yrs before. Woven of silk, wool, and steel threads, the tapestries range in dimension from 8-and-a-50 %-feet sq. to 8 by almost thirteen toes.

This challenge commenced 15 several years back when Robin participated in a 3-day survey of 36 tapestries in Cleveland’s collection along with Belgian tapestry pro Yvan Maes De Wit. The purpose of this survey was to rank the tapestries in the selection by high quality, and then to determine the sum of conservation remedy vital to make them prepared for exhibition. Centered on that study, the 4 Seasons Tapestries have been picked as the best precedence for procedure. Two Master of Artwork candidates in the joint CMA/CWRU Artwork History and Museum Studies undertook artwork historical investigate on the tapestries. Their exploration served to further more ensure this set’s importance and provide info that is now obtainable to the general public by our Selection On-line platform.

The moment funding was secured to handle them, these four tapestries, together with 4 many others in the collection, were sent to Mechelen, Belgium, in May perhaps 2018 for remedy at Royal Producers De Wit all 8 returned to Cleveland in September 2019 the moment treatment was complete. Despite the fact that the CMA has a textile conservation lab on-web-site, managing tapestries involves a big house, specialized devices, and a team of textile conservators qualified in tapestry conservation to undertake the treatment method. Dealing with the tapestries in Cleveland’s textile lab would not have been attainable. Cleveland’s romance with De Wit extends back again to the late 1990s, when the established of eight Dido and Aeneas tapestries on screen in the Armor Court (fig. 2) was sent to Mechelen for treatment. Considering the fact that then, 20 tapestries in Cleveland’s assortment have now been handled by De Wit.

Figure 2: Dido and Aeneas tapestries on exhibit in the Armor Court docket

De Wit utilizes a two-stage stitching method. Initial, weak locations are stabilized to strengthen the tapestry by inserting patches of cotton or linen at the rear of parts of reduction. Uncovered warps are stitched to the patch utilizing a matching thread. From time to time the patches are small, but occasionally they could go over substantial sections if an location is especially ruined. Then comes restoration — which is the addition of new products to visually finish an spot. New thread is stitched on major of the patches to total the photograph. When viewed from afar, the repairs are harmonious and nearly indiscernible, but if seen up near, the new stitches are visually unique, enabling viewers to differentiate first pieces of the tapestry from restorations. You see here the approach: on the still left is the ruined location, in the middle the loss has been stabilized, and on the suitable you see the restored place (figs. 3a–c).

Figure 3a: Ahead of treatment method. Figure 3b: Throughout treatment method. Determine 3c: Following procedure.

In addition to conservation cure by itself, conservators undertake prepared and photographic documentation of objects being handled, both prior to remedy commences, through remedy, and just after treatment is total. They also undertake technological evaluation to superior understand the objects they are managing. The wool and silk threads ended up discovered using a polarized light-weight microscope. Dye examination was performed in collaboration with the conservation experts at the Indianapolis Museum of Artwork at Newfields. Researchers identified natural dyes sourced from both of those crops and insects that are indicative of elements in use for the duration of the time the tapestries were being designed. Equally, the metallic threads were analyzed at the Swagelok Centre for Surface area Assessment of Supplies, situated inside of the University of Engineering at Situation Western Reserve College. Scanning Electron Microscopy with Electricity Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) detected a silver and gold alloy with trace amounts of copper in the metallic strips wrapped all over a silk main, which is a normal development for steel threads in the 1700s (figs. 4b and 4c).These collaborations prolong Cleveland’s abilities in the realm of scientific investigation, and finally benefit all the institutions associated through the sharing of understanding.

Determine 4a: Photomicrograph at 40x magnification displaying the flat metal strip wound all around a yellow silk main. Determine 4b: Backscatter Electron (BSE) detail at 1000x of the steel surface. Figure 4c: BSE graphic at 350x magnification from SEM-EDS.