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The restoration of the Crucified in the church of San Francisco Javier will conclude before Easter (01/12/2020)

| The polychrome wood sculpture presents its articulated arms, which makes it the only ancient crucified that still preserves this mechanism in its entirety | The Minister of Education and Culture and the Mayor of San Javier visit the Restoration Center to learn about the work being done on this piece that is considered a jewel of the Region The Murcia Region Restoration Center will conclude the process of recovering the Crucified Christ from the Church of San Francisco Javier, in the town of San Javier, for the next Holy Week.

Currently, the work is in the physical-chemical cleaning phase that has eliminated more than 90 percent of dirt and spurious elements deposited on the surface of the image. The Minister of Education and Culture, Esperanza Moreno, accompanied by the mayor of San Javier, José Miguel Luengo, and the parish priest of the church, Juan Prieto, today visited the facilities where these works are carried out, which from now on will continue with the replacement of missing parts (a finger of the left hand is missing), sealing cracks, reconstruction of the preparation layer and differentiated chromatic reintegration and final protective varnishing. The Crucified Christ of the church of San Francisco Javier can be considered as a jewel of the polychrome wood sculpture of the Region of Murcia, since its antiquity dates from the 17th century- and the state of conservation of its polychrome, we must add the peculiarity that presents its arms articulated, which makes it the only ancient crucifixion that still conserves this mechanism in its entirety. This contraption was used to carry out the so-called 'Unlocking Auto', very common in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which is a theatrical car that was performed on Good Friday at noon in the church itself and that recalled the last hours of Jesus Christ in the cross.

And where the sculpture was literally unlocked, lowering it from the tree, picking up its arms inwards, placing them in a horizontal position, turning the Crucified into a Reclining Christ, thus evoking the Death, Descent and Burial of Christ. The sculpture was saved from the almost complete destruction suffered by the temple of San Francisco Javier in July 1936, and is one of the few before the Civil War that is still preserved in this church. The perfect state of preservation of the original polychromy of the image is surprising, hence the decision to recover it in its entirety, removing the non-original contributions.

Something unusual confirmed by the few works intervened in the Restoration Center of such an old chronology (XV-XVII centuries), in which an exceptional conservation of the original pictorial film was detected. Process started in September The intervention, which has been taking place since mid-September at the Murcia Region Restoration Center, has a budget of 18,000 euros. The process began with the corresponding previous study, in order to verify each of its pathologies, subsequently carrying out different cleaning tests to determine how many non-original layers were covering the original polychrome.

Up to four well differentiated layers have been found: a thick layer of generalized dirt in the most superficial layer; oxidized varnish derived from a previous restoration; punctual repaints also derived from this previous intervention; and repaints derived from an older restoration, an intervention carried out much further back in time.

Source: CARM

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