The King at War: Velázquez's Portrait of Philip IV October 26, 2010, through January 23, 2011
The Portrait of Philip IV by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599–1660) returned recently from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, having been cleaned for the first time in more than sixty years. The gleaming silver brocade covering the king's crimson coat is executed in an extraordinarily free and spontaneous manner, which is almost unparalleled in the painter's production and can now be better appreciated. The treatment by Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge of Paintings Conservation, revealed the dazzling original surface that had been veiled by a yellowing varnish. Additionally, the first technical studies of the painting were undertaken, involving microscopy, X-radiography, and infrared reflectography.
Scroll down to learn more about the conservation challenges in an in-depth video by Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge of Paintings Conservation,The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Digitally merged view showing two halves of the painting (left half showing pre-cleaning state, and right half showing post-cleaning result): Velázquez, King Philip IV of Spain, 1644, oil on canvas, 51 1/8 x 39 1/8 inches, The Frick Collection, photo: Michael Bodycomb
Video photography credits: Conservation documentation photography: Juan Trujillo, Metropolitan Museum of Art; portrait of Michael Gallagher: Jackie Neale Chadwick, Metropolitan Museum of Art
The exhibition is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.