EFFORT TO SAVE AND PROTECT
Restoration plans for the most critical wall paintings at the Church of the Ascension at Mileseva monastery have been drawn up in June 2000 by experts from the Board of Conservation of Serbian cultural monuments, headed by Mr. Miroslav Stanojlovic and Mr. Radisa Zikic, based on a detailed assessment of the current state of affairs. Following the Blago Fund operations in August 2000, which included conservation specialists from the Board, the plans were amended and expanded to include several other frescoes, as outlined earlier. Although preparatory initial work was performed shortly thereafter, however, the restoration plan was operationally put on hold pending the securing of necessary funds.
Based on its first-hand fact-finding mission and the other outlined facts, the Serbian Unity Congress and the Blago Fund have decided to spearhead an effort of raising the funds necessary to accomplish this important restoration project. The estimated cost of the project is US$ 25,000, which would include work on four key wall painting compositions - Myrrh-bearing women at the Holy Sepulcher (including the White Angel), the Church Donor composition, the Nemanjic Dynasty lineup (including St. Sava) and the Last Supper, as delineated below.
Work is to proceed in the following three phases:
Phase One. Preparatory operations for the Last Supper - scaffolding construction, removal of the protective gauze layer, and probing analysis (if needed); creation of a temporary protective transportation surface layer; detachment of the painting layer from the wall, and removal and relocation of the combined transport-painting layers to the designated on-site location for further processing.
Phase Two. Conservation and restoration work on the dislocated Last Supper composition, removal of the transportation layer and creation of a permanent reinforced support background layer, all resulting in a portable presentation of the painting, pending a final decision on its display location and setting.
Phase Three. Perform cleaning, conservation and restoration work on the Nemanjic Dynasty, Holy Sepulcher and Donor Presentation compositions based on procedures outlined earlier in the analyses of the respective paintings.
The project is to be performed by the experienced professional conservation team headed by Mr. Miroslav Stanojlovic, M.A.; the team has a significant portfolio of successful restoration efforts and is also in the process of seeking international specialist consultation, including that from the restoration of Vatican frescoes. Payments (apart from the necessary advances to begin work) will be made at the completion of phases, each one
of which is to be accompanied by a detailed report on its accomplishments, including any possible reevaluations. The funds are to cover the labor as well as materials, with a natural focus on leveraging local resources.
Art conservator, Miroslav Stanojlovic, prepares fresco
A large scaffold will be required for the duration