Orgy

The artist is Kotarbinsky

In the second half of the 19th century, the image of Roman orgies was widespread in academic art. In this sense, the picture of Wilhelm Kotarbinsky is a typical and brilliant example of the embodiment of this topic. The ease with which Kotarbinsky arranged this multi -figure composition, written by a wide, virtuoso smear. In this, possibly the largest, the artist’s easel canvas, his potential was fully revealed as a master of monumental decorative painting.

The painting by Wilhelm Kotarbinsky “Orgy” entered the Russian Museum in 1898 from the Imperial Academy of Arts after showing at the annual academic spring exhibition and took a prominent place on the exhibition. After the 1917 revolution, the Orgy was rolled to the shaft. In January 1926, as the preserved act of restoration inspection reads, “signs of signs of the upper layers of painting from the lower layers” were discovered in the picture. It was noted that “since all the cringes and signs of the shedding are especially threatening to preserve the picture, the picture is necessary in the form of a temporary measure of strengthening with sturgeon glue and seal with paper”. By January of next year, the indicated work was done: the “orgy” was sealed with paper and after drying again they rolled to the shaft. This “temporary” branding of a colorful layer lasted more than 90 years.

In 2016, as part of the preparation of the exhibition “Henry Semiradsky and the colony of Russian artists in Rome”, it was decided to restore the work, the front part of which was sealed by Tolstoy, oxidized from time to time of low -quality wrapping paper. At the same time, the hollow bubbles of the paper lagging were visible over the entire surface, which was exfoliated with fragments of the upper colorful layer.

A group of restorers of the Russian Museum consisting of Marat Dashkina (leader), Natalia Romanova and Maria Soldatenkova, having developed a plan for restoration measures, made a work unique in complexity and scale: layer -by -layer removal of paper and residues of enclosed glue, a complete strengthening of a colorful layer with deep impregnation, sealing of the canvas of canvas and bringing duplicate edges to it, a stretch of the canvas on a new subframe, followed by replenishment of lost areas of a colorful surface.

+ About the restoration of the work
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The state of safety before restoration:

The picture was stored for a long time rolled to the shaft. The front side was completely sealed with a dense yellowed and oxidized wrapping paper, the image through which was not visible. As follows from archival documents, branding was done in 1926, “since all the crowning […] are especially menacing to preserve the picture”. After the trial removal of branding, it became obvious that the connection between the layers of painting is violated or completely absent. On the back of the side there were numerous plasters over breakthroughs, there was no subframe. The work required a complete set of restoration measures aimed both at strengthening and stabilizing the connections between layers of painting, and to restore lost fragments of painting, especially its upper layer.

Complex of the events:

To remove thick leafing paper, a methodology for its gradual quenching was developed by "rolling" using a solution of cellulose. In this case, a thin plastic layer of paper was left. In places, the paper was completely removed, in places where stratification or swelling was visible, strengthened directly on top of the thin layer left using various methods: steaming, deep impregnation, invacing. After removing the old thick paper, a double deep strengthening of the colorful layer was carried out. Old plasters and chinks are removed from the back, small breakthroughs are made, restoration edges were brought up and the picture is stretched to a new subframe.

During the inspection of painting after conservation, it became obvious that the numerous losses of the upper colorful layer destroy the contours of the figures, crushing the image. The yellow, uneven film of the varnish completely hides the real flavor, has lost transparency, in some places of decomposition of the varnish were deep. In the dark areas of middle and backgrounds, the image was practically not read. The regeneration of the varnish was carried out on the surface twice: before the clearing and after the thorough of the varnish along the entire surface. The final stage of restoration was the reconstruction of painting in places of loss of the author’s layer. As a result of picturesque restoration, the contours of figures were restored. The compositional solution of the picture became clear, the background of the background appeared.

Keeping a story. Restoration workshop of the Russian Museum – 100 years. SPb, 2022. With. 128-129.

Programs/Films about this work in the media text:

Orgy
Novelty
Wilhelm Kotarbinsky. Art… dream
Creation year: 2018 | Video painting | Language: | Duration: 24:46

In the film “Vilhelm Cotarbinsky. Art … To dream ”researchers and restorers of the Russian Museum talk about the stages of the restoration of the“ Orgy ”work, as well as how an exhibition was created about Russian artists of the mid -19th – early 20th centuries, whose life and work were closely connected with Italy. Together with the film crew, the viewer will fall into the restoration workshops of the Russian Museum and will become a participant in a large preparatory museum work, which, as a rule, always remains “behind the scenes” of the museum exposition.

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