Patina is a natural reaction of bronze to atmospheric conditions, such
as chemicals and humidity. Foundries have learned to isolate these
chemical compounds, speed up the reactions, and stabilize them at
various points. To deter further reactions, they protect the patina with
two coats of hard wax. Because atmospheric elements constantly work on
bronze surfaces after leaving the foundry, certain steps should be taken
by the owner to preserve the patina.
Bronzes should be displayed in ventilated areas away from excessive heat
and humidity. Depending on the concentration of these two atmospheres,
fuzzy green or white surfaces may appear. Dusting and occasional
polishing with a soft cloth are required for normal preventative
maintenance. Instead of using waxes or polishes that may contain
cleaning agents, foundries recommend Johnsonís Paste Wax. A very thin,
even coat of wax should be applied with a soft brush about twice a year.
(Highly humid areas may require more frequent applications.) Allow the
wax to sit and dry from six to twelve hours before polishing with a soft
Multi-colored patinas and certain green patinas are created by the use
of many chemicals and may require special attention and more frequent
waxing. Should these patinas begin to react, the areas affected should
be scraped gently with a tooth pick, then waxed immediately. Another
alternative is to contact a reputable art foundry and have them deal
with such reactions.
Many bronze owners prefer to let the wax coating applied by the foundry
wear thin while they sit back and enjoy the natural reaction and aging
process of their patina.
Remember, the patina is the most delicate part of your bronze and should
be handled as such. For further information, please contact any
reputable art foundry concerning bronze care.