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Over the next eight months visitors can follow the restoration of the 500-year-old painting ‘Saint Christopher’ by Hieronymus Bosch in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s freely accessible Art Studio. In an open restoration workshop, Studio Annetje Boersma and wood-panel specialist Jean-Albert Glatigny are preparing the panel for its exceptional journey to Den Bosch and Madrid. In 2016 the panel painting will be shown at the Noordbrabants Museum and the Museo Nacional del Prado in an exhibition to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of this world-famous painter.
The extremely labour-intensive restoration project is well under way at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Studio Annetje Boersma and wood-panel specialist Jean-Albert Glatigny have been asked to restore the priceless artwork. In the coming months the old layers of varnish and retouching will be removed and loose areas of paint will be fixed. The wooden construction at the rear of the panel will be examined and improved. A piece of wood that was added later will be removed. Lastly, a new layer of varnish will be applied.
During this public restoration you can learn all about the restoration process. On ARTtube there is a video in which conservator Annetje Boersma and curator Friso Lammertse talk about the restoration. In this way the museum is giving the public a taster of what it envisages for the Expertise Centre in the new Public Art Depot: a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the museum manages its priceless, world-class collection. The restoration can also be seen as part of the major autumn exhibition ‘From Bosch to Bruegel – Uncovering Everyday Life’.
‘Saint Christopher’ is unanimously attributed by experts to Hieronymus Bosch and is one of the most important works in a Dutch public collection. The panel, painted around 1500, shows the giant Christopher carrying Christ on his shoulders. Christopher is the patron saint of travellers. Bosch signed the work lower left, a highly unusual practice at this time.
The restoration has been made possible with the support of the Bosch Research and Conservation Project and the Nedspice Restoration Fund.