Museo Nacional del Prado

Summer 2017

Arial view of the Prado's studio space.

Applying seal materials to display glass.

Placing a sealed panel in its frame.

Preparing a large scale loose lining.

Stretching a large canvas onto its supports.

I had the privilege of working in the Conservation and Restoration department of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain for eight weeks. By assisting in the day to day operations of the studio, I was introduced to a variety of new conservation tasks and methods.

I assisted panel conservator, José de la Fuente Martínez, in creating air-tight housings for paintings on wooden supports during their re-framing. I also worked with fellow interns and conservators to secure large canvas paintings to their supporting stretchers. I assisted other conservators with treatments of their paintings, and they introduced me to their methods, materials, and tips.

I also prepared paintings for loan to exhibitions, for example a 13th Century Altar frontal. The thick wood and gesso frame attached to the panel painting required the most attention. I first consolidated its lifting and flaking paint with animal glue. Next, I cleaned the surface with an aqueous cleaning solution, followed by clearing the surface with de-ionized water. Finally, minimal retouching was completed in watercolors to close distracting abrasions in the figure of Joseph, on the right side of the painting. In only two short days, the painting was ready for art handlers to begin packing. In addition to this work, I completed the treatment of The Fall of Phaeton by Jan Carel van Eyck.

Aside from my hands-on training, I was able to benefit from the Prado’s position as a research institution and attended seminars and lectures with leading international scholars. Conversations with Alejandro Vergara, the Prado’s Chief Curator of Flemish and Northern Schools, have informed the direction of my M.A. Art History Thesis. During my internship, I spent extra time in the galleries getting to know the Prado’s collection and was able to visit many other museums and heritage sites throughout Spain. 

Before Treatment

During Treatment

Inpainting

Symposium presentations on copies of masterpieces in the Prado and Kunsthistoriches, Vienna collections