Madonna and Child

Madonna and ChildI created this work for a kind of project one never hears about. In Italy there are many, many paintings from different centuries in need of restoration. There are also many “falsi”, (meaning counterfeit paintings). What I never knew before I lived in Italy was that old paintings are in all different states of decay. Some paintings merely need cleaning or a couple of cracks filled. Others are missing important details, (such as heads), entirely. There is no actual rule as to how much of the painting can be repainted before it is considered an actual antique as opposed to a fake. Some of the shops that do this kind of restoration are so good that it takes a real connoisseur to tell what has been painted in and what is original. The canvas is of course real, as is much of the paint. Sometimes at antique shows some of the gallery owners give themselves away by using the same “restorer” on a number of different works from different times. If they are hung together there is a suspiciously similar quality to the works.

Serious restorers use a technique of painting in the missing parts with tiny vertical lines so that with a magnifying glass one can plainly see the original from the restoration. For this work I was asked to recreate an image from a canvas where only the feet were plainly visible. The top area of the canvas was a mere shadow and nobody knew what it looked like. I only did the drawing for the project and have never seen the “restoration”. The drawing is gridded lightly as we did in the day in order to transfer the information from what remained of the original to the paper, and then back again to the canvas.

I am offering a limited edition of this image as fine arts prints. Click here for the link to my online store.

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