Conservation of wood-carved icon stand 

H.M. of Saint John the Baptist | Jerusalem|Israel

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Ecclesiastical objects, like portable icons and ecclesiastical woodcarvings, have been constructed for the liturgical needs of an Orthodox church building. These works are recognised not only for their theological symbolism but also as works of art with artistic, historic and archaeological value.

This festal icon stand belongs to the monastic type of icon stand. Its characteristics, the rectangular body ends in a sloped surface where the icon of the Saint of the day can be placed. There is a canopy representing heaven above topped with a dome and cross. Carved from wood, this is a 19th century work of high aesthetic quality with dimensions of 287 x 60 x 70 cm.

Conservation work began in 2017 and lasted for a duration of four months within a larger project of doing a full restoration of all of the ecclesiastical objects of the church of the Holy Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Jerusalem.

The woodcarving is ornamented with polished water gilding and colour accented details throughout. The icon stand was originally covered with a thick layer of bronze paint, while soot and grime had concealed the painted surface of the heaven canopy. Its wooden body had undergone significant damage from wood-boring insects which required extermination followed by a process of reinforcing portions of the work that had rotted over time or had otherwise lost their physical durability.

The conservation work was completed with a process of aesthetic restoration chiefly aimed at bringing the object back to its original splendour. Restorative interventions were undertaken by specialists from ARTIS and carried out with the aim of preserving and highlighting the aesthetic and historical value of each object. Each intervention was carried out with respect for the original materials used and the authenticity of each object.

Besides the restoration of the icon stand, ARTIS Gilding & Restoring also engaged in the construction and gilding of an exact premium replica of the original work.

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