In the old days, the transportation of paintings was usually entrusted to horse-drawn postal services, as they had certain skills in handling valuable items. To prevent damage during transportation, oil paintings were packed in special wooden boxes lined with soft material such as felt. Such packaging not only provided protection from mechanical stress, but also prevented temperature changes.
When transporting an oil painting in the cold in winter, certain conditions must be taken into account to ensure the safety of the work and maintain its quality. Oil paints can be adversely affected by low temperatures, so it is important to follow certain guidelines.
It is believed that the minimum temperature safe for transporting an oil painting in winter is approximately 10 degrees Celsius. This temperature is usually recommended to avoid possible damage to the artwork and to keep it from losing its appearance and color.
However, it should be kept in mind that the ideal conditions for transporting oil paintings include a temperature range of 15 to 21 degrees Celsius. In this range, the risk of damage to the work is minimized.
To protect the painting during transportation in frosty weather, it is necessary to keep it warm by packing it in appropriate material to minimize exposure to low temperatures. Insulating materials and heat-supporting containers can help maintain optimal conditions for your oil painting.
It is also recommended to take into account the duration of transportation. The longer the painting is exposed to frosty conditions, the greater the risk of damage increases.
Well, if you are transporting the painting yourself in a car in the cold, delivering it to some address, pack it securely, wrap it in something warm and transport it not in the trunk, but in the cabin of the car.
Regardless of the temperature and time of year, it is recommended to transport a painting painted on canvas stretched on a stretcher vertically, packed in hard cardboard (or, as an option, 4 layers of cardboard) or a wooden box, so that the surface of the canvas does not come into contact with convex objects. If there is no protective packaging, do not place the painting, do not lean it against other objects, avoiding pressing in the canvas, stretching will appear in these places, even cracking the oil surface and falling off.
It is important to note that oil paintings are very sensitive to temperature changes. The ideal temperature range for storing oil paintings is between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. At higher temperatures, oil pigments may begin to melt and bleed, causing serious damage to the painting. At low temperatures, the oil becomes more viscous, which can cause microcracks and subsequently cracking of paints. It is especially not recommended to transport a freshly painted painting with wet oil into frost.
Some people leave paintings in unheated private houses in their dachas. Even if such paintings survive the frost, the oil paint surface will still be damaged and crack over time.
Irene Postolnaya, artist, St. Petersburg, January 2024