In January 2011, conservators raised the curtain on their work as they cleaned and conserved the enormous The Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just by seventeenth-century Dutch master Gerrit van Honthorst. Conservators usually work behind the scenes, but this painting is so large (about 10 x 15 feet) that a new studio space was created especially for its treatment. Over the course of 18 months, conservators carried out their work on view to the public; see the progress updates posted below.
Treatment of The Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just , dated 1636, by Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch, 1590–1656): January 2011 The first challenge is to prepare the painting. Its immense size means that it must enter (and leave) the studio rolled on a large tube. The painting is carried through the Linde Family Wing and up the Huntington Entrance staircase into the second floor gallery.
Treatment of The Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just , dated 1636, by Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch, 1590–1656): April 2011 Conservators are now carefully removing several layers of yellow brown varnish using a mixture of solvents that dissolve the varnish layers but are safe for the original paint.
Carved from one block of Egyptian alabaster, the seated statue of Menkaura (Mycerinus) was recovered in 1907 by the Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition in the ruins of the king’s temple at the base of his pyramid, the third and smallest at Giza. The statue had been broken apart in antiquity and the pieces scattered about the site. Fragments from the torso and throne base were found in January 1907. Two months later, the full head, in nearly perfect condition, was excavated from what proved to be a robber’s trench.
In gallery 117 of the Behrakis Wing, conservators have begun treatment of two Etruscan sarcophagi. Conservation work is normally conducted behind the scenes. However, given the size, weight, and fragility of these objects, a studio space was constructed around the sarcophagi in the gallery, allowing the public to see the treatment process from beginning to end. Check back often to see progress updates posted below.
Treatment of The Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just , dated 1636, by Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch, 1590–1656): July 2011 The cleaning process has now progressed more than halfway across the painting. The varnish is still being removed from the surface, as is the overpaint. The figures look more luminous and beautiful without the old yellowed varnish. And some exciting discoveries have been made, such as the much larger shape of the clouds, as well as some new architectural details.
Treatment of two sarcophagi, Etruscan Late Classical or Early Hellenistic: September 2011 The first step is to carefully examine and document the physical condition of the sarcophagi. Important information, such as weak areas of the stone, crack patterns, level of staining, and previous repairs, is noted through a detailed study of the stone surface and substrate.
Treatment of The Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just , dated 1636, by Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch, 1590–1656): November 2011
In the spring of 2012, the George D. and Margo Behrakis Gallery (gallery 207) in the Behrakis Wing welcomed a 13-foot marble sculpture of the goddess Juno. Due to its enormous size, the sculpture was airlifted into the gallery through an opening made in the roof. Over the next several months, conservators will treat the sculpture in situ, giving visitors the chance to observe activities which normally take place behind the scenes. Check back often (updates posted below) to learn how the sculpture was moved into the building and how treatment is progressing.
Relocation and conservation of a Roman sculpture of the goddess Juno, early second century A.D.: 2011, Examination Extensive documentation and examination are required in determining best methods and in devising a plan for the move. Firstly, the dimensions are roughly mapped out.