Santa María d'Àneu





Mural painting, XI century.
Guingueta d'Àneu. Lleida.
Commissioned by Pallars Sobirà County Council.Originals preserved in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC).



From the old visigotic convent mural decoration, become during the eleventh century to a Benedictine monastery, only were preserved paints of the central apse part.

Attributed to the master of Pedret are paintings in abundant intense and polychrome. The central theme is dedicated to the Epiphany and Adoration of the Three Wise Men, although the powerful image of the seraphim, with their wings full of eyes which has become an icon of the temple. Other scenes are also represented as the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel.

For his plastic quality and original iconography, is one of the most important romanesque painting in Catalonia.

The Pallars Sobirà District Council tourism promotion plan, was the ideal setting to test the conceptual and economic advantages of a reproduction system made from photography. The intention of the plan was to regain some of the artworks collections spread over half world and return to their place of origin in form of copies. The main matter was that the reproductions loyalty should contribute on the sensation that the originals caused in the visitor before their exodus.

Santa Maria d'Àneu became, in real testing ground for the development of a system to reproduce artworks unprecedented in the world.

The success of the work was insured with the invaluable assistance of Hewlett-Packard and crew of its global center for R+D in San Cugat.

HP intervened in the delicate color management to calibration and their large format printers and and some studies about image quality, such as the color permanence made in Palo Alto, USA research center.

The images of the paintings of Santa Maria d'Àneu, and therefore the Catalan romanesque, had been shown around hole world. The description of the new technology and the work could only be explained by the desire of the former members to renew the presence in the walls for which the originals were created.

Jordi Calveras, from the photo service at Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, was the responsible for shooting large format photographs to ensure the quality and definition requiring to make the copy.

The slides were digitized, edited and scaled into the original size.

After testing and color corrections, the copies were printed in Papelgel.

To ensure complete reversibility of the work, An equal structure to the original wall surface was built. An apse below the apse separately by few inches.

A metal frame, shaped as half cage was lined with steel mesh to mold the volumes. Then, was covered with polyester resin reinforced with fiberglass. The mortar was made with slate sand so the appearance of gaps that showed losses of paint layer coincide with those of the original. The surface was worked seeking the proper texture, similar to a paint having this nature.

Printed images in Papelgel were adapted to the shapes and textures.

Finally, the protective varnish was applied on the transferred image.

The result of the work was widely picked up by the media:  The National Geoghaphic, El Pais, La Vanguardia, El Periódico and 5 Días, among others, as the news channels TV2 and TV3.





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