Oil on wood
Framed: 109.5 x 149.9 x 9.5 cm (43 1/8 x 59 x 3 3/4 in.); Unframed: 77.8 x 118.7 cm (30 5/8 x 46 3/4 in.)
Holden Collection 1916.796
The Virgin Mary is often depicted wearing blue and red, symbolizing her purity and devotion.
What are some of the key steps in conserving this picture?
While it may seem disturbing, the condition of this work is not unusual for a 16th-century panel painting. Treatment was abandoned decades ago when the conservator who was cleaning the work left the museum. Brilliant colors and beautiful original passages remain, including expressive folds of red drapery and delicate flesh tones. New technical research could tell us more about how the panel was painted and subsequently treated. Identifying the artist is another key step that would help conservators reconstruct distinctive passages like hands and facial features. A painting by Francesco Bissolo in Munich (below) is closely related in subject and style and may provide some clues.
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