Issues in Painting Conservation between Original and Present State
Hans BRAMMER (Translation: MANABE Chie)
In 2003, Tohoku University of Art and
Design invited Mr. Hans Brammer, chief of the
conservation department of Kassel Museum in
Germany, to lecture on his theory of the ideal
state of restored paintings,his definition of the
original state of paintings, and case studies
of different paintings by Rembrandt and the
Rembrandt school. Brammer specializes mainly
in the research of varnish, using “varnish cross
sections,” and has been a leading figure in his
field in Germany.
The lectures consisted of two parts:
1.Is reestablishment of the original state the goal
of conservation/ restoration?
2. Conditions of paint layers and varnishes,
examined in cross sections from paintings by
Rembrandt and the Rembrandt School.
The purpose of painting conservation /
restoration is generally regarded as reestablishing
paintings to their original state. Brammer
discussed whether this purpose is justified from
both theoretical and practical points of view.
His theory indicates that the removal of aged
varnish, even if it is not an original substance,
does not reestablish a painting to its original
state, and that a slightly yellowed varnish is an
important part for an appearance of a naturally
aged painting. He explained that not the original
condition, but the “untouched” condition should be
the goal of conservation/ restoration of paintings