How to restore a terracotta sculpture?

Terracotta sculptures are works of art that are not often seen outdoors in parks and gardens. Architectural pieces are the only ones that are found in these places. In fact, these sculptures deteriorate more easily when they are exposed for a long time outdoors, suffering the damage caused by natural elements such as water, frost, sunburn, etc. In any case, there are professionals whose main task is to restore a terracotta sculpture, if necessary.

Cleaning the base, a key step in restoration

Restoration requires, above all, know-how, as it serves to safeguard the initial state of the heritage. Techniques and rules are needed to reproduce the original structure of the sculpture. However, to restore a terracotta sculpture, it is best to start by cleaning the statue. For example, you can remove the reptile skin, the first sign of deterioration that covers it. You are then advised to repair or, more precisely, to wrap the damaged parts with plaster. For information, cleaning is an important step in the repair process. If the statue is missing a part, it is best to fix it immediately with a steel plug.

Modelling the statue

When restoring a sculpture, the face is given special treatment if it is damaged. Among other things, it requires a separate repair. To restore a clay sculpture on the face, you can choose between two techniques, namely modelling or casting. In both cases, the main thing is to model the plaster or only the clay by increasing the piece by 7% from its current volume. This is necessary so that the size returns to normal after firing. Apart from that, modelling in clay is a trick that offers better results after the restoration work.

Patina work

The principle is to respect the original tones by superimposing different layers to protect the statue. It is also necessary to hot spray a transparent wax to obtain a homogeneous aspect in the colour of the piece. In addition, to restore a terracotta sculpture, talcum powder must be applied to the piece beforehand. Thanks to the ambient heat, the wax and the talcum powder give a shadowy appearance to the whole piece. Finally, even if a terracotta statue is well restored, you should not put it back outside for fear of damaging it again.

Plan du site