The restoring of the paintings of Master Theodoricus took place systematically according to the individual walls. The opportunity occurred to compare the state of all the accessible panels after the removal of more recent operations, i. e. darkened retouchings, overpainting and filling, and thus to gain an idea of the thus uncovered original preserved painting with the aid of documentary photographs laid out in the pattern in which the individual paintings are placed on the walls of the Chapel.

The panels showed various degrees of damage of different kinds. Apart from mechanically removed backgrounds, cut away round the outlines of the figures of the inidividual saints in roughly half the panels restored so far, our attention was drawn by the destruction of the original layer of colour on the panels on that part of the West wall directly adjoining the main wall. After the removal of later overpaintings a number of small light defects appeared, mainly circular in shape, caused by the falling away of the paint down to the chalk ground. This damage proceeds from the bottom left-hand side of the wall and scatters equally upwards and sideways. Most damage was suffered by the panel with StJames the Younger, it the centre of which is a defect caused by mechanical damage which goes right through the wood of the panel to the reverse side and measures around 20 cm. The surface damage to the painting recalls burning or etching away of the paint layer, which deteriorated and fell away. This type of destruction spreads across the panel with St Bartholomew and St Theodore and gradually thins away into nothing across the panels in higher positions. The artistic quality of the paintings of this part of the Chapel is connected with those on the main wall and they are undoubtedly by the hand of Master Theodoric.

The set of panels on the walls of the West alcove, connected with the wall described above, is somewhat different in artistic character. This is a series of saints where the state of the original painting, after the removal of of later overpaintings, is surprisingly good. Here there are only defects caused by the movement of the wooden support of small amounts of mechanical damage.

The composition of the ground layers in all these paintings agrees with the paintings on the other walls, including the type of wood of the panels. Differences occur only in the building up of layers of colour in the modelling of the drapery which is far simpler, without the characteristic layering.



On Left – St Bartholomew, state after cleaning and filling
On Right – Apostle James the Less, detail

Also noticeable is the different painting technique of the flesh colours. The question therefore arises of when and under what circumstances the destruction on the above-mentioned part of the West wall occured, what was the cause and why this type of damage does not occur also on the wall adjoining the West recess.


  author

Hana Kohlová, AHVT A 038 (J.D.)



On Left – Apostle James the Less, state after cleaning and filling
On Right – St Theodore, state after cleaning and filling Photographs S. Divišová, NG Prague