|The conservation of paintings can sometimes be a subject of drama and mystery. Each artwork that needs restoring carries within it, like a Chinese box, layer upon layer of meaning, sometimes obscured or distorted, and often puzzling. It is the conservator's job to understand what the master painter set down or intended.
Occasionally, discoveries are made during the treatment processes: that a painting is a fake rather than an original or, just the opposite, discovering something is authentic rather than a copy. Whole sections of paintings may be overpainted, hiding long-forgotten original intent. Only bits and pieces of information may remain after centuries of former restoration work and damage.
The latter situation occurred during the treatment of two 1537 portraits owned by the Muskegon Museum of Art in Michigan. The paintings, attributed to Lucas Cranach the Elder, depict Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina von Bora.
This Case Study will focus on the treatment work that led to the recovery of missing information and how, after a long pursuit, the artistís original intent was rediscovered...well, almost.
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Page 5--The Hunt, Page 6--The Inscriptions, Page 7--The Rose, Page 8--Final Thoughts,
Barry Bauman Conservation
Contact: Mr. Barry Bauman
1122 N. Jackson Ave., River Forest, IL. 60305