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  • Alex E. Wendt

Restoring Sacred Beauty: How Does Church Mural Restoration Work?

Churches are known by the religious and non-religious alike to have beautiful art adorning the inside. 

Whether it's a classic oil painting, stone and marble statues, or remarkable and delicate stained glass, many churches boast some of the finest art in their respective cities. 

When this art is aged, though, it requires some maintenance. This is where church mural restoration comes into play. 

Keeping the art in your church in pristine condition isn't easy. The wear and tear of time will take a toll on your artwork, leaving it dull, scratched, and perhaps even in need of complete reworking in some areas.

This is where a professional comes in to save the day. 

If you're thinking about hiring an art restoration professional, you're in the right place. Keep reading to learn about what exactly goes into the restoration process so you can hire the right person for the job.

Why is Church Mural Restoration Necessary?

You may be wondering why art even needs to be restored in the first place. After all, there's plenty of famous art pieces in the Sistine Chapel, the Louvre, and other churches and museums that have stood the test of time. 

In reality, art isn't a "forever" kind of thing. When it's exposed to water, heat, curious hands, or even air, it can be damaged slowly over time. The paintings that we have displayed now likely look quite different than those that were initially painted. 

For example, the statues that we have from ancient Greece, while we imagine them in classic white and grey marble, were likely actually painted in vivid color. Paint simply needs touch-ups from time to time if you want it to retain its former glory.

While you don't objectively need to restore the murals that are decorating the walls of your church, the restoration will breathe new life into these old paintings. Your patrons and any passers-by will stop to look at the bright new art that was unearthed from the previously dim or damaged original. 

How Does Restoration Work?

There are a few different ways that this process can be completed. It will depend on the person doing the restoring, as well as the work that needs to be done. Not all artwork can be restored in the same way, and conserving the base of the art is of crucial importance.

Restoration can refer to paint loss, a weakened canvas or surface, water or fire damage, or damage done by a human, animal, or insect. While some damage is natural, other kinds of damages are more direct and may require more restoration. 

There's a process to the restoration of paintings and murals. While it might vary slightly, here's the basic formula.

Step 1: Consultation or Analysis

The first step to restoring a painting or mural is a consultation. The person or group doing the restoration need to determine the amount of work that there is to be done, and whether or not their specific skillsets are ideal for this project. 

The people doing the restoring have to know the time period of the piece and the overall style and materials that would have been available to the original artists. This will help them get the most accurate restoration rather than one that looks out of place.

They also need to determine how much paint or pigment was actually lost. There are various tools that can be used for this process.

Once the restorer is confident in how much work the project actually requires, and the skills, techniques, and materials that they will need to complete it, they can gather their supplies and begin actually working on the mural. 

Step 2: Removal of Discoloration

Sometimes murals that have been restored before (or even those that were just well-protected) have discolored pigment or a protective varnish layer on the top. This discoloration can make a painting look totally different than it did when it was first painted.

If this mural has such a layer, that has to be removed before any more color can be applied. Sometimes the removal of that layer is enough to give the artwork new life, but often this is just the first step of the process.

Step 3: Repairing and Repainting 

After adjusting for discoloration, the mural is ready for repainting or repairing. Sometimes another layer of varnish is applied to protect the newly uncovered painting while the painter works. 

This means that if it needs to be restored again in the future, the next restoration artist can simply peel away that protective cover without damaging the original artwork. 

After that, the restoration artist will mix pigments to match the underlying color as best as possible. They'll do their best to match their artistic style with the style already present in the mural underneath.

Often times, these pigments will be specially formulated to avoid yellowing or other discoloration over time. This will hopefully prevent the need for future restoration. 

Once the repainting is done, they may layer more varnish on top to keep everything smooth and protected from elements or the human hands.

Do You Have a Mural That Needs Restoration?

When murals become dull or damaged, they're no longer the beautiful pieces of artwork that they were in their prime. They don't have to stay that way, though. 

Getting a mural restored will breathe new life into the artwork and your church. You don't have to settle for dull and discolored art. Professional restoration artists want to bring your artwork back to its former glory. 

If you're in need of church mural restoration, visit our site and contact us. We can bring those murals back to life. 


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