The wooden coffer of gilded pastiglia found in the Red room of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is an Italian work dated to the XV and XVI centuries. The object measures along its front side 12,5 x 20 cm. and along the lateral side 5 x 10,5 cm. The wooden coffer, stuccoed and gilded gold leaf (red bole), is decorated with figures and reliefs in stamped stucco that illustrate the death of Lucrezia and the sacrifice of Isaac.
Because of the continuous use of the object, the coffer–which had never been restored previously–presented lacunae or detachments of various stucco figures, to which must be added the detachment of the gold leaf in particularly compromised areas. On the cover, the circular hand had been reapplied in an erratic manner using iron nails.
Technical Report of the Restoration
The restoration was realized between June and July of 1995 at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Florence) by Maria Donata Mazzoni, under the direction of Giovanni Rasario.
The conservation intervetion essentially involved cleaning with the goal of returning it to its position in the museum. In addition to the original patina, a light layer of yellowed varnish was retained, in order to avoid too heavy contrasts between this work and the others of the Bagatti Valsecchi collections, which, according to the collectors, were to demonstrate their age. For the same reasons, the missing parts caused by the falling off of stucco figures were not integrated with replacement bits. Supporting this approach is the fact that a panoramic examination of the work is not compromised by the lacunae.
After a non-invasive examination by X-ray, the detached gold background and stucco figures were fixed with animal glue. The dirt and the various layers of wax and oxidized varnish were removed mechanically and chemically, using a waxy emulsion, conducted under binocular microscopic examination.