In July 2021, the Geul overflowed and the center of the town of Valkenburg was flooded, as did the church. The water rose to 1.20 meter. The church had experiences floods in the past, but never did the water level rise this high. The whole interior was damaged, just as the fourteen paintings that form the Stations of the Cross. Unfortunately, the water reached the bottom 20 cm of the paintings. Thanks to the help of many volunteers, the objects were rescued from the church after the water level lowered, to be stored and slowly dried.
The direct contact with the dirty water, as well as the extremely high humidity inside the church, has caused damages to the paint layers of the artworks. The Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL) performed ‘emergency’ treatments directly after the floods. Now the paintings have had time to dry completely, the conservation of the damaged painting has started. The face and revered of the canvasses are carefully cleaned. Then, the flaking paint is consolidated and the damaged varnish layer will be removed.
Pictures on the left: Stations of the Cross, ca. 1870
Above: Station 9: Before the treatment, showing the temporary facings that were applied to avoid loss of the paint layers.
Below: Station 9: During the treatment, removing the damaged and yellowed varnish layers, revealing the original colors of the painting.