Roman mural paintings from the domus of carrer Avinyó

Luxurious decoration on the roof of the room or cubiculum of the owner of the Roman house on Carrer Avinyó. In the centre, there is a rhombus with the presentation of the Rape of Ganymede (“the most beautiful of mortals”, according to Homer in The Iliad) surrounded by floral motifs and moulded borders.

Restoration of the paintings of Carrer Avinyó, 15
Management and coordination: Lídia Font, Anna Lázaro and Carla Puerto, of the Preventive Conservation and Restoration Service of the Museum of the History of Barcelona
Restorers: Sílvia Llobet, Maria Molinas, Kusi Colonna-Preti, Àlvar Mailan, Núria Deu, Anna Bertral and Lorena Andino, of ÀBAC, SL
Hypothetical restitution and interpretation of the decoration: Alicia Fernández (University of Múrcia) and Lorenzo Suárez
Year: 2014-2015

Roman mural paintings from the domus of carrer Avinyó

Painting with mixed fresco-secco technique. Fourth Pompeian style. Second half of the 1ST C - first half of the 2ND C. Dimensions: 460 x 250 cm. MHCB-40041.1. (©Pep Parer-MUHBA)

Detail of the floral motifs in the Roman paintings of the domus of Carrer Avinyó. (©Àbac-MUHBA)
 
 

Detail of the floral motifs in the Roman paintings of the domus of Carrer Avinyó. (©Àbac-MUHBA)(©Àbac-MUHBA)

Detail of a border combined with moulding from the Roman paintings of the domus of Carrer Avinyó. (©Àbac-MUHBA)

Hypothetical reconstruction of the decoration used as the basis for the restoration work performed by Dr. Alicia Fernández.

The painter worked on a fine layer of lime that was still soft and not fully carbonated. The pigments were mixed with an organic binder. (©Lídia Font-MUHBA)

More than 3000 fragments were connected and more than one quarter of the decoration was recovered. (©Àbac-MUHBA)

Elimination of gases (acetone) and cleaning of the fragments with water gelled with agar combined with alcohol and acetone. (©Àbac-MUHBA)

Cleaning of the remains of acrylic resin applied to a highly-soluble red pigment with tissue impregnated with acetone.

Consolidation of mouldings with Nanorestore®, lime nanoparticles dissolved in alcohol. (©Àbac-MUHBA)
 

Humidity chamber to promote carbonation following consolidation with Nanorestore®. (©Àbac-MUHBA)
 

Location of the fragments based on a hypothetical reconstruction of the ceiling decoration. (©Àbac-MUHBA)

Fragment location work completed. (©Àbac-MUHBA)
 

The fragments are joined with polyvinyl butyral (PVB). (©Àbac-MUHBA)

Three (3) layers of mortar made using hydraulic lime, crushed ceramic and sand (7:2:3) were applied to the rear of the fragments. The second layer is reinforced with a mesh and acrylic emulsion is added to the third (7:7). (©Àbac-MUHBA)

New, 4.8-cm thick Aerolam® support for the painting, reinforced with a steel frame and rings at the top to facilitate movement with a hoist. (©Àbac-MUHBA)
 
 

The fragments are joined with Epolam 2001 epoxy resin mixed with glass microbeads. (©Àbac-MUHBA)

Fragments fixed to the support. (©Àbac-MUHBA)
 

Filling in gaps with Arlita®. (©Àbac-MUHBA)

The gaps are packed with Arlita®. (©Àbac-MUHBA)

NHL3 hydraulic lime restoration mortar with crushed marble and river sand (1:2:1). (©Àbac-MUHBA)
 

The restoration mortar is NHL3 hydraulic lime with crushed marble and river sand (1:2:1). (©Àbac-MUHBA)

Restoration phase finishes. (©Àbac-MUHBA)
 

Installation of the painting in the exhibition room. (©MUHBA)

Detail of the central motif of the roof once the restoration had been completed. (©Àbac-MUHBA)