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16 April 2012

Fragile Van Eyck under restoration in Boijmans

Annetje Boersma and Eva van Zuien have locked themselves away in the restoration studio of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to work on the intensive restoration of the work ‘The Three Marys at the Tomb’ (1425-1435) by Hubert van Eyck.

Atelier Boersma restores 'The three Marias at the grave' by Hubert van Eyck in the restoration workshop of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Tot en met ontwerpen
Atelier Boersma restores 'The three Marias at the grave' by Hubert van Eyck in the restoration workshop of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Tot en met ontwerpen

The fragile painting is laid out on the large ‘operating table’ where the two restorers can work on it together, using a microscope and delicate instruments. The painting will be presented in its full glory on 13 October, when the exhibition ‘The road to Van Eyck’ will be opened.

Annetje Boersma: “Over the centuries, the painting has been subjected to various treatments to preserve it for the future. These treatments have left their mark. In addition, the painting’s carrier is made of wooden planks, and these have always been sensitive to the influence of temperature and moisture. This has caused a certain craquelé on the painted surface and here and there the paint has become loose. At one point, the planks were taken apart and glued together again, and there is a crack in the top of the wood. All these symptoms now emerge and tell the story of the state of the painting. Despite everything, it is generally in good condition.”

Eva van Zuien: “We treat tiny pieces at a time, under the microscope. We are now removing the old varnish and glue layers, and this reveals the original surface of Van Eyck. Before the painting can be exhibited in October, we must remove all traces of previous restorations. Then the second part of the restoration process can get under way: the retouching process. We will then retouch (fill in) all the tiny damages that emerge so that the depiction is legible again.”

View the demo about the restoration.

You will be able to view this painting from October 13 in the exhibition ‘The road to Van Eyck’, which will include not only this painting but other masterpieces by Van Eyck and many other beautiful paintings which inspired Van Eyck. Read more about the restoration or send an e-card.

The restoration has been made possible by Nedspice.

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