Half-cleaned Vasari on Display at Palazzo Barberini

October 22 2021

Image of Half-cleaned Vasari on Display at Palazzo Barberini

Picture: @BarberiniCorsin

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Palazzo Barberini in Rome have shared an interesting image on Twitter of a half-cleaned painting on display within their galleries. The Allegory of the Immaculate Conception by Giogio Vasari is in the progress of being cleaned. The various stages of dirt removal and varnishing are now very obvious to the eye.

The work will be on display for a few weeks until it heads back for conservation until is completion in April 2022.


I was wondering whether this was a brilliant idea or not. Obviously, it is a wonderful chance to show the public the various stages of conservation treatment. However, it is also somewhat visually frustrating to see something not quite there. The equivalent would be displaying a half-cleaned car in a forecourt, perhaps. Maybe readers of AHN have some interesting opinions on the matter.

Update - A reader has been in touch to remind me of the current exhibition Facelifts & Make-overs at the Mauritshuis. Amongst presenting a survey of recent conservation projects the exhibition also features an 'in-progress' conserved picture by Pieter de Hooch. Well worth visiting by the looks of it!

Update 2 - A reader has forwarded a photograph of a detail of the aforementioned Vasari. As you can see, the conservators have used white dashes to indicate the cleaned areas:

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