Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Return of the she- devil

One of the emblematic pieces on display during Holy Week in Orihuela is the Triumph of the Cross, the she-devil carved by Nicholas de Bussy in the late eighteenth century which was presented to the guild of farmers in 1795.

It was looking dull and faded and so has been completely restored by the Valencian Institute for Conservation and Restoration.

The technicians removed layers of paint and varnish, is some parts twelve of them. In doing so they have revealed detail that had been lost for example, drops of blood at the foot of the cross, the glass eyes of the angels and the sundial beneath the skeleton.

First the whole piece was treated to eliminate any woodworm by placing it in a sealed bag and then removing oxygen. In some parts it was necessary to inject resin to consolidate the wood. Then the process of cleaning began. Nails that had been added at the base of the sculpture were removed along with staples that held the shroud to the cross. Cracks were filled and the clouds were restored with a layer of silver. Finally the paintwork was restored in such a way that the original colours have been maintained. 

The piece is now back in Orihuela fully restored.

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