Conservation of reverse paintings on glass -
"...and truly / if glass was not so easily smashed, one would prefer it to silver or gold"
Christopher Merrett, in Johannes Kunckels "Ars vitraria experimentalis", 1689
A conservator is engaged in the conservation and restoration, i.e. preservation and repair, and with the scientific and technological research of objects of work of art. This kind of work is featured by respect for the original artwork, its creation and its history.
Reverse painting on glass comprises of different decorating techniques, which - from the perspective of a viewer - is behind the transparent glass and adhered to it. Other materials that can be used as picture carrier are rock crystal, amber or muscovite which all give the same effect and transparency as the use of glass. The decoration can be painted with a brush or created with other materials like gold and/ or silver leaf, powdered gold and/ or silver, bronze, mirror, painted paper or parchment and mezzotint (print). In contrast, stained glass is a decoration that is fused to the transparent ground in a kiln and is to be viewed by transmitted light.
Simone Bretz has worked free-lanced since 1985 as a conservator who specialises in the conservation and restoration of reverse paintings on glass.
She has worked for a number of museums and private collections in Europe and the United States and has restored pictures from the 14th
to the 20th century.