(Dutch, c. 1570-1657)
Oil on wood
Framed: 86.5 x 77.5 x 7 cm (34 1/16 x 30 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 53.2 x 45 cm (20 15/16 x 17 11/16 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1055
The sitter wears several transparent and translucent white collars that become opaque when layered.
How do you conserve a painting when portions are missing?
The mid-treatment image (below) shows the painting after cleaning, when earlier restorations had been removed. In the painting on view, notice how the conservator reconstructed portions of the sitter’s lace collar and elaborate necklace. She re-created missing passages after studying the artist’s technique in other works and carefully emulating his treatment of the remaining lace and elements of the twisting, three-dimensional necklace. Conversely, there was not enough information to reconstruct what was probably another ornament at the back of the sitter’s head, so the decision was made not to speculate and invent something in that space.
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