Courtauld Reframe Picture to Botticelli's Design

November 15 2021

Image of Courtauld Reframe Picture to Botticelli's Design

Picture: The Sunday Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yesterday's The Sunday Times shared news that the Courtauld Gallery have reframed a painting using Botticelli's own designs found on the back of a painting. The designs were uncovered through infra-red scans of the gallery's The Holy Trinity with Saints Mary Magdalen and John the Baptist, which revealed notes Botticelli had seemingly left for the original framer. The reproduction of these designs was realised by Timothy Newbery, a craftsman and historian based in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway.

According to the article:

The painting, on a wood panel, is thought to have been produced between 1491 and 1494 for the Sant’ Elisabetta convent in Florence.  The sketches are thought to have been by Botticelli himself as a guide for a carver. They showed the design for the frame in which he wanted the painting to be displayed, above the altar in the convent’s chapel. The drawings show columns running up each side of the painting and the shape of the cross in the middle. 

Karen Serres, the gallery’s paintings curator, said the find was “super-interesting” and “it felt like we were participating in this dialogue that was happening in the studio”. 

She said: “You can just imagine that Botticelli is there with the person who’s made the panel, and they’re also working out what the frame should look like. It’s all kind of doodly.”

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