Starting the restoration of Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Self Portrait' | National Gallery

Starting the restoration of Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Self Portrait' | National Gallery



my name is Larry Keith on the head of conservation and keeper at the National Gallery and I'll be leading our departments restoration efforts of our newest acquisition Artemisia Gentileschi x' self-portrait is in captain of alexander which you see behind me the picture is painted on canvas which has in turn been relined that is glued to another canvas and so our treatment will address both the structure of the picture and as well as the the surface of the painting itself that is to say they discovered varnishes old retouching and restoration we feel is appropriate to making the picture work properly again another important part of the treatment we'll be considering as we work is how we might frame the picture appropriately for it to go back on display in the gallery any conservation treatment we undertake in the National Gallery is part of a wider effort that of coordinated activity of both conservators conservation scientists from our scientific department and the pictures curators we all work together as the treatment unfolds to understand the technique materials artistic intent and that in turn helps guide the restorers choices the conservative choices about levels of cleaning and retouching the first thing we do is so on to take a series of investigations using non-destructive imaging techniques I mean most famously people know about infrared and x-ray radiography but now we've got a whole range of new analytical techniques as well which are managed by both the imaging photographic and scientific departments that help us learn a great deal more about that pigments used there how they're used across the canvas the likely damages and important things about layer structure and changes and these guide our first efforts in thinking about how to commence with the cleaning itself you

5 thoughts on “Starting the restoration of Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Self Portrait' | National Gallery”

  1. I wonder if restoration is even something that should be done at all, especially retouching. These are historical pieces that should not be tampered with. In 50 or 100 years the technology will likely be much better than now. It would be intelligent to perhaps only do small parts at a time, if you must.

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