How do you proceed when you’re commissioned to restore ceiling paintings or frescoes?
I always start with the analysis. What sort of painting do I have here? What is it painted onto? What about damage? We then build a platform and investigate and photograph everything. If we can’t identify the colour of the paint with the naked eye, we take small samples that are then examined in the laboratory. But there’s also a lot that one can see straight away. A fresco, for example, is a painting that was painted onto plaster before it was completely dry. It’s easier to restore because the paint has penetrated the plaster. Oil paints, on the other hand, can flake off and are less durable.
What had to be done to the frescoes in the Bank Austria Salon?
In truth, they only required a few precautionary measures. There were some cracks that could have led to bits of plaster falling from the ceiling. This would have been very awkward if it had happened during a concert. The Bank Austria Salon has a self-supporting wooden ceiling onto which reed mats were nailed during the baroque period. The paintings were added around 1700. We cleaned them and retouched a couple.