Roberto M. Lopez Conservation Center’s conservation team at work, on-site art restoration at Santuario de San Antonio Parish Church on McKinley Road. About the Santuario de San Antonio Parish Church:
“The convent and church of San Francisco de Asis in Intramuros were razed to the ground during the liberation of Manila in 1945. Instead of rebuilding at the same location, the Franciscans decided to construct a new church elsewhere. On July 17, 1951, a contract was signed between the Franciscans and the Ayala Corporation, which agreed to donate two hectares of land at Forbes Park, Makati, Rizal, on which the Franciscans committed to construct a church and convent (California Mission-style). On August 24, 1951, the Most Rev. Gabriel M. Reyes, D.o., Archbishop of Manila, granted permission for this construction to be undertaken dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua. The cornerstone was blessed on August 1, 1951.” Source
The conservation center began as a facility to preserve the museum’s collection. When collectors learned about the center, they began inquiring if they could send their precious collection pieces to the art hospital. Eventually, the museum responded to this demand and extended its services. Among the works being serviced by the conservation center are paintings (on canvas or wood), watercolors, maps, documents, and books.
On the protection of an artwork, which means putting coating or varnish to shield the painting from light. Ms. Maita M. Reyes, the center’s chief conservator says, light has three properties: heat (which makes painting brittle), ultraviolet rays (which deteriorates the fibers by cutting the chemical bonds), and brightness (which fades the image). “Image degradation is irreversible,” she said, explaining further that if the light has caused a painting to fade, one cannot bring the image back fully. If there is varnish on top, that coating can be damaged by the light, but underneath one can discover the painting to be intact. “When we go to the beach, we put on sunblock, so a painting also needs this,” Ms. Reyes said. Once the painting is clean, chemically and physically stable, enhanced if need be, and protected, then your painting gets a new life. It can peacefully nestle once again in your home and delight you for years to come.