A new paper has been published by our team in the journal Coatings. The article, entitled “Photonic Applications for Restoration and Conservation of 19th Century Polychrome Religious Wooden Artworks” belongs to the Special Issue – Heritage Conservation and Restoration: Surface Characterization, Cleaning and Treatments and can be found at the following link: https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings13071235
The present paper reports the multi-analytical approach for the removal of thick layers of metallic overpaints from a Brancovan iconostasis of the “Holy Trinity” church in Măgureni, România, which was built in 1694. After a restoration procedure at the beginning of the 20th century, the polychrome sculpture of the frame, which was initially gilded with a thin silver foil, was covered with a thick metallic overpaint layer imitating silver and gold. Currently, the conservation project of the church is focused on restoring the original aspect; thus, the overpainting that presented strong oxidation and soiling was removed. The adopted conservation methodology involved physicochemical characterization of the pictorial layers via optical microscopy, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, followed by the removal of the overpaints. The cleaning tests were performed by evaluating several methods in order to find the proper regime that would help preserve as much of the underlying polychrome layers as possible. Based on the tests, it was decided that the best solution was to use laser cleaning for the rough removal of the metallic paint overlayers and finalizing with chemical cleaning.