Studio of Artwork on Paper and Photography Restoration

Barbora Němečková – Tableau of firefighters from Devín, before restoration
Barbora Němečková – Tableau of firefighters from Devín, before restoration – detail
Barbora Němečková – Tableau of firefighters from Devín, during the restoration
Barbora Němečková – Tableau of firefighters from Devín, during the restoration
Pastel before restoration
Pastel before restoration, UV research
Pastel before restoration – detail of the edge
Pastel before restoration – measuring of Ph
Pastel before restoration - detail of colony of spores
Zuzana Machatová – Litography before restoration
Zuzana Machatová – Litography after restoration

Bachelor´s level of study

Obtaining basic practical skills and knowledge in restoration works created on paper is the main content of bachelor´s study. Students experience first steps in working with paper media in a form of pad to be able to realize its inferiority, concerning the relevance when looking at the monument in symbiosis with the work itself. Understanding of structure, composition, nature and function of paper in relation to work created on it and their mutual conjunction.

Getting familiar with all essential technological and restoration procedures applied in this kind of restoration. Gradual steps will lead the student to recognition of individual processes, their mutual conjunction, the impact on memory and principal of material reversibility. Purposeful guidance of students heads towards a creative approach when implementing restoration work, towards realization of the full spectrum of options and understanding the variability of each individual work of art. Meaningful research, documentation and presentation of student in front of wider audience from the Department. Emphasis is placed on the reversibility of individual restoration operations.

Students adopt the theory that the state of works after restoration is not dependent on schematic procedures but on student´s ability to creatively combine gained technological and theoretical knowledge in the process of restoration. The intention is to achieve the ability of students to independently perform and evaluate restoration research, which will help them to get the skills to prepare restoration plan prior implementation itself. In the research phase the students are led to the ability to communicate and collaborate with external professional departments dealing with more comprehensive examination of different materials.

At the end of the study at the bachelor´s thesis, the attention of students is focused on improving the knowledge and skills in restoration of water reversible colour materials. The emphasis is placed on working on several monuments simultaneously and especially on their differentiation in assignments concerning the damage and also materials used in their creation.

Students will become familiar not only with the graphic techniques, but gradually will recognize all materials commonly used in the design and completion of works of art such as watercolour, tempera, quache, charcoal drawing, pen or other drawing material. The focus is put on research of colourful materials, impact of paper degradation on their luminescence, their degradation and elimination of these impacts.

The main focus is on the final creative evaluation and blending of art work - retouching. Students are encouraged to take responsibility, especially towards independence.

Master´s level of study

Graduation and mastering of skills and knowledge from bachelor´s level of study is a condition for admission. The study directly relates to the bachelor´s level and takes into account the orientation of students and their skills. It accepts their individuality in orientation on various creative techniques, especially when works of art are selected.

The students of master´s level work more independently with an emphasis on a creative approach in creating the restoration project. Work on more complex assignments mostly on works of combining techniques on paper – either coloured printed historical works or originals directly on paper:

  • photo-mechanical printing processes
  • Japanese prints, paintings, drawings, calligraphy and corresponding materials and techniques
  • printing on silk 
  • technology of paintings on paper (painting manuscript)
  • emphasis on creativity when complementing the missing parts of a work
  • drying off the work, caulking, replenishment
  • mounting large format works with Japanese paper / canvas
  • mounting works on paper pad, overall consolidation of sensitive large scale works on paper (charcoal, tempera, quache, pastel) 
  • technique of painting on paper, pigments, watercolour, tempera, quache, pastel, and their mutual combining
  • restoration of photos and films
  • restoration of transparent paper.

At the beginning of master's level of study the students´ attention is focused on the increase of knowledge and skills in restoration of artifact with mixed technological nature. The emphasis is placed on differentiation in assignments as for damages as well as material used in creation. Students receive no more than three assignments, and they usually work with them continuously up to ninth semester. Emphasis is put on research itself, on accurate characteristics of used primary or secondary materials within the limits and with regard to the equipment of the studio during restoration.

Attention is focused on research, on accurate specification of used materials, both primary and secondary. Historical and ethical principles in process of selection of appropriate technological procedures when the structure and nature of works is accepted, is important.

Photography restoration

Photography restoration is included in the programme of restoration of works on paper pad and photographs since 2006. It is a very young restoration discipline in Slovakia.

At the beginning of the course, students learn the brief historical overview of the development of photography. With an emphasis on understanding the historical context, which is very important for a restorer for better identification of individual photographic processes.

The main emphasis of teaching process is put on actual photography restoration. Teaching techniques of photos restoration that are already proven and commonly used in the United States and France, as well as teaching of other, less applied and more experimental approaches of photo restoration in a form of training or only in theoretical level.

Each photographic technique is different and requires individual approach, after correct identification it is therefore essential to determine materials needed for restoration processing.

Final creative blending of photography – retouching is a very important part of restoration in our school. Its mastering is one of the priorities of educational process and it was shown up as a big advantage for later practice. From the perspective of diversity of the history of used materials, the retouching of photography is very demanding and therefore a great emphasis is placed on its good mastering during the teaching process.