Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum
February 10 through May 10, 2009
The Cleaning of a Masterpiece
Losses to the painting’s surface have been treated and filled. The composition is now cohesive and luminous, and Zurbarán’s gentle illumination of the composition is apparent. The shadows cast across the table’s surface by the objects are more legible as well.
Mark Leonard, Chief Conservator in The J. Paul Getty Museum’s Paintings Conservation Department, summarizes the results of the cleaning: “Four diamond-shaped wooden inlays in the four corners of the tabletop have been uncovered; they provide a visual — and perhaps iconographical — boundary for the iconic objects, subtly refocusing attention from the edges of the composition back toward the still life. In addition, the lower edge of the table has once again become legible. It can now be seen in the lower right corner that the artist’s inscription of his name and date was applied to the table edge itself.”
Because of the painting’s recent treatment, visitors to the exhibition can fully enjoy the subtle details and excellent condition of Zurbarán’s masterpiece.
Francisco de Zurbarán’s Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose of 1633. Photograph of the painting after conservation. 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.