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Christs from Las Vizcainas Restoration is Complete
Three Christs from the Colegio de las Vizcaínas were restored at ENCRYM. Photo: Melitón Tapia/INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- Three Christ sculptures from the San Ignacio de Loyola College temple, better known as Las Vizcainas, in Mexico City Historical Center, have been restored by students from the National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography and soon will be returned to the Catholic temple.

The sculptures arrived to the Polychrome Sculpture Workshop-Seminar at ENCRyM in January 2009. The Christs are from the 18th century, but only one of them is confirmed by iconographic elements.

Students restored under supervision of their teachers Fanny Unikel, Mercedes Murguia and Luis Amaro the pine wood sculptures and their painting.

One of the carvings (1.70 meters high) was placed face down and compressed on the back with rubbers and presses in order to inject glue in the cracks to stabilize them.

Other Christ (one meter high) missed 2 teeth which were substituted with original pieces and not with carved bone, as is normally used on this kind of representations.

The third Christ’ polychromy is excellent, and it is evident that an anatomic study was carried out before carving it, mentioned Fanny Unikel.

After photographic register and analyses conducted to know the conservation state of materials took place to determine the restoration criteria to be applied, the sacred sculptures underwent a superficial and a deep cleansing.

The Christs presented soot, fat, insect excrement and dust, and were cleaned with physical and chemical processes that do not harm the painting.

Afterwards colors were fixed with glue and prior restorations were eliminated when they deteriorated the piece.

“Students carried out the plaster process that consisted in the application of a paste layer, and after recovering levels, chromatic integration took place” commented the teacher.

Other historical pieces restored at the workshop include a Saint Nicholas of Tolentino from the temple of Saint Augustine, in Jonacatepec, Morelos, as well as saints and other Christs from the Popular Arts and Industries Museum in Patzcuaro Michoacan.

Unikel declared that when artwork is returned, a file that details the restoration if handed over, while a copy remains in ENCRyM.

The Christ sculptures will be displayed again in July at the temple located in 21 Vizcainas Street, Historical Center, Mexico City. The restorer called communities that want to conserve properly their religious artwork to look for professional advice, such as ENCRyM.

Colegio de las Vizcaínas | National School of Conservation | Jonacatepec | Morelos | Saint Nicholas of Tolentino |

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