Porta d’Egitto – Giulio Turcato

“Then we arrive in Ismailia, at the edge of the desert. And John looks at me and says: we stay here working, you do too, go to the desert and paint it. I went there and for ten days I painted it. Then I got tired, I went to Cairo, which is the opposite of the desert”.
(Undated interview with Turcato by Germano Lombardi).

Giulio Turcato (1912-1995), was one of the main Italian exponents of Informal Abstractionism. The Porta d’Egitto series consists of a small number of works, sometimes executed in a series of triptychs, made by the artist in a very limited period of time, during one of his trips.

Egypt’s Gate is a large painted canvas. The colours used are distinguished by the overlapping of different layers of colour, sometimes fluorescent, spread incompletely and partially covering. The resulting effects are non-colours, which together with the silky and sandy material give extremely particular effects.

In this case, Mnemosyne had to deal with a very complex restoration: the canvas support had acquired a general looseness and showed various types of stains and deformations on the pictorial surface caused by improper handling and non-optimal conservation conditions.

The thin aluminium frame revealed the original colouring and the restoration allowed us to learn more about the painting technique of this work.

We cleaned the paint film by developing a mainly dry system and combining it in some areas with solvent-based methods, as the risk was to solubilise the colour by converting it into an improper colour.

Thanks to the study of the technique, the analyses carried out and the comparison with other works by the artist, it was possible to identify the correct level of intervention, avoiding distorting the work and giving it back its correct reading.


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