Academic thesis

Estelle Augustin: Analysis for the formation of compression inside of the picture layer of the painting "Hermann Friedrich Goverts" (1848) from the Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte. Development of a conservation concept. Back
Language: Original   -   Translation
Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to explain what caused the damages to the picture layer of the portrait of Hermann Friedrich Goverts, which was completed by Woldemar Hottenroth in 1848 and to develop a conservation concept.
The picture layer, which consist of a two-layer ground build up, priming and a paint layer, have been damaged by compression. Approximately 70% of the surface structure of the painting show clear signs of bulges. These bulges are primarily located on the open picture surface and spread in the same direction as the canvas structure, i.e. they produce a grid-like effect. However, the most severe bulges run parallel to the upper and lower stretcher ledges.
The technical findings have shown that the entire portrait consists of seven layers: 1. Canvas, 2. Size, 3. First ground layer consisting of linseed oil, a natural resin and white lead, lithopone, red and yellow iron oxides, 4. Second ground layer consisting of a drying oil, white lead and lithopone, 5. Priming consisting of linseed oil and carbon black, 6. Paint layer consisting of oil-containing binding medium and 7. Coating.
In addition, the drying oil has accumulated on the surface of the first ground layer and thus constitutes a separate layer.
The second ground layer and the paint layer have both separated from the first ground layer and buckled. The first ground layer, which after sizing rests on the picture carrier, is unscathed. Despite the good condition of the first ground layer, the overall condition of the picture carrier as well as the state of the second ground layer and paint layer indicate water damage. The reason for the varying conditions inside the picture layer are due to the different material properties of the analysed materials and their reaction to humidity. Furthermore, additional factors account for the separation of the two ground layers. One such factor could be the accumulation of the binding medium on the surface of the first ground layer.

This paper includes the theoretical development of a conservation concept. The aim is to flatten the buckles of the second ground layer and the paint layer and to restore adhesion to the first ground layer.
In the course of the paper, four conservation approaches are described, whereby the suitability of each approach has to be verified by a series of tests. However, the implementation of such measures is not part of this paper.


  • academic institution: HAWK Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen
  • kind of theses:  Diplomarbeit
  • main Tutor:  Prof. Dr. Michael von der Goltz
  • assistant Tutor:  Silke Beiner-Büth M.A.
  • date:  2007
  • Language:  German
  • pages:  94
  • pictures:  49
Estelle Augustin
Atell@[Diesen Teil loeschen]


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