Dipping a bud of cotton affixed to a thin reed into a plastic bottle of solvent, M Narayanan Namboodiri makes use of it to gently dab at a nook of an antique portray of a lady gambling tempura. Almost tenderly, he twirls it over and over on her cream and gold garment. Discarding the cotton, he replaces it with every other ball of cotton and repeats the system. At the 0.33 try, the cream modifications to off-white, and Namboodiri’s face breaks into a smile. “That is the right solvent. Restoring a portray takes time, persistence, knowledge, and enjoyment,” he says.
The professional artwork restorer has been at work at Kuthiramalika Palace in the city for the past six months, restoring valuable artwork within the museum. Showing a resplendent portray of Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma, ruler of erstwhile Travancore, at his makeshift place of work on the palace grounds, he says the colors of the work had modified due to picture-chemical reactions and, as a result, the work of artwork had received a jaded look. Since the recuperation, the stupid green, cream, and greenish-gold of the work have given way to the authentic colors of emerald inexperienced, gold and white, making its appearance sparkling and wealthy.
“As students of conservation on the National Museum in New Delhi, we have been again and again told that our paintings changed into now not to create however to repair and conserve a work that had been entrusted to us,” says the artist. He explains that a restorer’s work isn’t to paint over the authentic piece; however, to restore the painting to make its appearance as near as possible to the artist’s preliminary paintings.
“In the case of antique artwork, on occasion, we come upon botched-up efforts using preceding artisans or technicians who may have attempted to refresh the colors or paint in their own idea of a face or background. Then, as a good deal as possible, we attempt to undo the changes and layers of paint to expose the real paintings,” he elaborates.
Over the last three decades, Namboodiri, a former technical restorer at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, in the rate of recovery of oil artwork, has worked in numerous museums of Japanese India to repair useful works of artwork that have been broken or worn out due to mishandling and climatic situations.
He likes to spotlight a Raja Ravi Varma painting housed in the Victoria Museum among the various works he has restored. Many artworks in Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, and Tripura had also been initiatives handled via his group. But one of the toughest ones, he says, was a piece of ‘Lord Curzon touring Burdwan’ on the Burdwan University Museum, West Bengal, as it had torn into portions. He remembers that it took nearly 5 years for him and his crew to repair it.
In India, humidity, daylight, spotlights, and heat affect chemicals in paints and result in modifications, he says. Another major factor is the lack of know-how approximately artwork. Namboodiri says people should be made privy to artwork and why and how they should be dealt with with care. He makes it a factor to maintain lecture demonstrations each time he receives an opportunity to enlighten artwork buffs. However, the septuagenarian provides that the paucity of art restorers and the pleasant competencies needed in their line of labor have come as a first-rate obstacle in keeping our artwork history.
“In reality, 10 years earlier than I retired from service, I was given a name from Pooyam Thirunal Gouri Parvathi Bayi’s office. I became informed that she had examined my work somewhere and wanted to recognize if I could see paintings on the artwork series at Kuthiramalika and Kowdiar Palace. But then I changed into operating as a central authority worker in Kolkata and couldn’t be in Thiruvananthapuram to take in the mission,” he recollects.
After his retirement in 2012, he again to Kerala and settled at Edapally in Kochi. Once again, there was an inquiry from Gouri Parvathi Bayi, and this time around, Namboothiri changed into more than willing to take in the hard challenge.
“I turned into drawn to the art while a baby developing up in a small village in Palakkad. I went to Maharaja Sayaji Rao University in Vadodara to hone my innate competencies and finished a 5-year diploma in nice arts. My evolution as a healing professional in oils started at the National Museum where I joined for a 10-month education route in exhibit training,” he says.
Looking around the serene grounds of the palace, he says his task now is to preserve and repair the artwork works within the Kuthiramalika Palace to make certain that the artwork is preserved for any other technology of art fans. He additionally frolicked in Kowdiar Palace to work on the art collection there. “These paintings have all outlived their creators. Now, my work is to make sure that they’re preserved in all their glory to allure viewers for some other one hundred years at least,” he says.