Care of Old Paintings by David Curzon
[from George L. Stout; Columbia, 1948]
Decay canít be stopped. But we can hold it off
by knowledge of how paintings age.
The binding material of pigment is collagen
from bones, skin, tendons, cartilage,
and such organic substances will fail
as they grow old, brittle, infested.
The support develops flaws: fabrics mold,
wood warps, splits along the lines of grain.
Sizing from animal glue can shrink or swell
because of changes in humidity
and even these displacements create their strains.
Housing and transport each has its own problems.
Accidents are apt to cause great damage.
Years of dust accumulate as grime.
A long existence in air darkens the varnish.
© 2005-2009 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas