Every two months Michelangelo’s David is “dusted” to remove microscopic dust and debris. It’s the job of Eleonora Pucci, in-house art conservator at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, a job she described as “exhilarating,” if somewhat unnerving.
To clean the 17 ft tall statue, a specialist in-house team builds a scaffolding tower in the rotunda housing the David, taking special precautions.
Using a small brush made of synthetic fiber, Eleonora caresses the statue, raising particles which are immediately sucked up by a small vacuum cleaner strapped to her back, expressly designed to be used on statues and museum architecture. (backpack vacuum cleaners with ultra high capture ability (of the dust), soft brush nozzles and HEPA filters are available commonly).
While you may think that the effort is worth it because it is Michelangelo’s David we are talking about, I beg to differ. With precautions, all art on display can undergo some type of safe maintenance, periodically… but not every two months is required.
Proper protection from damage and proper maintenance can maximize the enjoyment and maintain the value of the artwork. After all, a careful/thoughtful-hands-on relationship with your art turns your “decoration” into a relationship.
If you are uneasy, or even if you are not uneasy, about handling valuable art items (see this article about if something is “worth it”…and about what you should do to maintain your art, speak with an art conservator and ask if he/she is for hire to give you an in-house mini training session. Unless the art conservator has no people skills, you should enjoy the visit immensely (even more with some afternoon tea and cookies), a nice moment to further pick his/her brain. In fact, you should video the instruction for review later.
I promise you, the activity will be much more satisfying and valuable than telling the housekeeper hit everything with Pledge and a rag for a superficial tidy look. In addition to getting to know your art connects better, it will also give you the occasion to think about earthquake safety and other protective measures.
Questions? Call Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon Art Conservators
805 564 3438 office
p.s. If you would like to know more about what you can do to protect and preserve your original family history items, collectibles and memorabilia click on this link for a free copy of Scott M. Haskins book Save Your Stuff – Collection Care Tips, 210 pages with 35 embedded how-to videos.
p.s.s. CLICK HERE for our YouTube channel – Subscribe! See quick video on Discovering Hidden Signatures on Paintings!