VENIS STUDIOS is a company that specializes in the conservation and restoration of historic artworks and antiquities, combining the scientific and artistic aspects of conservation and restoration. It undertakes conservation and restoration projects of all fixed and portable works of art such as paintings, icon panels, artworks, antiques, historical monuments, etc., in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan, United States, and many other nations. Its purpose is to save artifacts and artworks by combining science with art. Recently, The World Art News had the pleasure to interview its President, Venizelos G. Gavrilakis, who shared with us fascinating images, stories, and facts about his unique art career. Here’s Part 3 of that conversation.
How do you determine the authenticity of an artwork before starting the restoration process?
Determining and discussing authenticity is not a simple task; that is why experts are involved. We employ various techniques such as microscopes, x-rays, UV lights, and other methods for analyzing colors, materials, and more. We possess knowledge about the materials and colors utilized in artworks, whether they are new or old, as well as their age, usage, and other pertinent details. Through this meticulous examination, we arrive at a definitive conclusion regarding the authenticity of the artwork. Prior to undertaking any conservation and restoration processes, we conduct scientific and historical research. Furthermore, during the conservation and restoration process, we delve further into examination and research. This entire process necessitates the expertise of a skilled professional or a team of experts.
How do you determine the value of an artwork after restoration?
The notion held by some individuals that the value of an artwork diminishes after conservation and restoration is entirely inaccurate. The assessment of an artwork’s value following conservation and restoration is intricately linked to its authenticity. A professionally conserved and restored artwork, which maintains its authenticity, attains the highest value. This is because the utmost value of an artwork is achieved when it is in its best, authentic condition, with all its original components intact and not concealed. Even when there are damaged parts, they must be restored using professional methods, materials, and techniques consistent with the original work. In this manner, we preserve the authentic nature of the artwork and revive its worth, all while respecting its authenticity.
How do you communicate with clients about the restoration process, progress, and results?
We maintain direct and ongoing communication with each of our clients, keeping them informed at every step of the research and process pertaining to their artworks. We provide comprehensive updates regarding the findings, history, and progress of their artworks. Furthermore, we offer detailed explanations of the actions taken or necessary for their pieces. We prioritize transparency and are readily available to address any inquiries or assistance required by our clients in relation to their artworks. It is this commitment to open communication that has earned us the trust of our clients, who entrust us with their invaluable treasures. Throughout the conservation and restoration process, our clients are welcome to visit our VENIS STUDIOS to witness the progress firsthand. Additionally, even after the completion of our conservation and restoration work, we maintain a follow-up system and keep records to track the condition of the artwork as it is received by the owner. Moreover, we offer consulting services tailored to the specific needs of each artwork.
With which artworks do you like to work the most – paintings, icons, fresco, sculptures?
It’s akin to asking someone which finger they prefer. Personally, I find fulfillment in working on various artworks and antiquities, but I derive particular enjoyment from conserving and restoring Byzantine/post-Byzantine Icons and oil paintings. However, every artwork and antiquity possesses its own unique qualities and intrigue. I hold a deep appreciation for the conservation and restoration of all types of artworks.
How do you balance the artistic integrity of the piece with the need for restoration?
It is essential to grasp the true essence of art restoration, including its focus and purpose. Therefore:
Restoration: Art restoration involves the repair or renovation of artwork that has suffered decay or damage. It aims to return the work to its original, unblemished state and primarily concerns the aesthetic aspects of the artwork.
Focus of restoration: The focus of art restoration is to revive the intended vision of the original artist for the viewer. It entails bringing a piece back to its authentic appearance or function.
Purpose of restoration: The purpose of restoration is to safeguard the integrity and, consequently, the value of an authentic artwork. Restoration treatments strictly uphold authenticity and honor the artist’s originality.
Thus, the key to maintaining artistic integrity lies in respecting authenticity through meticulous interventions and treatments, devoid of any arbitrary actions influenced by personal preferences or other factors.
How do you ensure the safety and preservation of the artwork during the restoration process?
Ensuring the safety and preservation of the artwork during the restoration and conservation process is heavily reliant on conducting thorough research before, during, and after each phase. This comprehensive research plays a crucial role in safeguarding the artwork. It allows us to acquire essential knowledge about the artwork’s unique characteristics, historical context, and materials composition. By understanding these aspects, we can tailor our restoration plan to meet the specific requirements of the artwork. Furthermore, conducting research enables us to identify any potential risks or vulnerabilities, which empowers us to develop effective strategies to mitigate them. By prioritizing research throughout the entire process, we can proceed with confidence, ensuring the safety and preservation of the artwork at every stage.
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