Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum
February 10 through May 10, 2009
The Cleaning of a Masterpiece
A radiograph of the painting reveals Zurbarán’s original plan to include a silver plate of batatas confitadas, a popular treat of candied sweet potatoes, a plan he evidently changed as he worked.
Whether intended to be a devout image or to showcase Zurbarán’s virtuoso handling of paint, the work’s simple yet poignant composition makes an indelible impression. Its delicate beauty was enhanced by a recent cleaning before traveling to the Frick for the loan exhibition Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum.
Paintings over time collect dust, and the varnishes that protect them age. Mark Leonard, Chief Conservator in The J. Paul Getty Museum’s Paintings Conservation Department, conducted the treatment in which the opaque and discolored old varnish layers, as well as some extensive overpaints, were removed from the surface.
Francisco de Zurbarán’s Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose of 1633. Software courtesy of Magic Toolbox.
The Cleaning of a Masterpiece photography courtesy of The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication with an essay by Sara Campbell, Senior Curator, the Norton Simon Museum, as well as in-depth catalogue entries by Margaret Iacono, Assistant Curator, The Frick Collection. The softcover publication is available in the Museum Shop of the Frick, and by phone 212-288-0700.
Principal funding for Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum is provided by Melvin R. Seiden in honor of Colin B. Bailey. Major corporate support is provided by Fiduciary Trust Company International. Additional support is generously provided by the Thaw Charitable Trust and Mr. and Mrs. John P. Birkelund. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.