Piero’s emotional departure
We are all back in Panjim. Piero and his wife and business partner Cristina, who is also a restorer, came to see what we are doing and was very impressed with the work done by all. He saw at first hand, first in Rachol and then in the Archbishop’s Palace, the difficulties we are facing with the irreversible and aggressive interventions done in the past. He was moved by all the contributions made by everyone who has participated in this programme. In his words ‘I had tears in my eyes when I said goodbye to all these amazing students, they have worked so hard and are so involved’. He wants to come back with other Italian restorers to help. It is truly remarkable how so many countries are joining in with one aim to bring back to life so much of the unique artwork of Goa.
All the Goan students are working hard on the second year syllabus, and at the same time learning more about polychrome statue repairs, about relining on the portraits in the Archbishop’s House and about carefully retouching using reversible materials. On top of this they are working on developing their own colour skills, fundamental to a good conservator, by drawing and painting still lifes in the studio.
One good example of the important work we are doing is a polychrome statue of ‘The Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus’. It was brought by Father Mansueto with the aim of removing the flat and uninspiring overpaint, and to try to expose the true colours. Under the pink and dirty blue of the vestments Frances did a remarkable job and discovered a deeper blue mantle with gold leaf motifs and border, also the pink has turned into a vibrant red which corresponds to the real colour used to depict the garment of the Virgin Mary throughout the Catholic countries, and the hair is not a dull brown but tinted with real gold! A lovely subtle craqeulure reflects the age of the statue and gives her this aura of Serene Majesty. What a transformation!