Collection / Conservation / Macrino d`Alba: Polyptych

 

MACRINO D´ALBA; POLYPTYCH: MADONNA AND CHILD, THE PROMISE OF ST. JOHN, ENCOUNTER AT THE GOLDEN GATE, CA. 1495

On the restoration of three wooden panels from a polyptych by the painter Macrino d’Alba ("Madonna and Child”, "The Promise of St. John”, "Encounter at the Golden Gate”) and its non-original but contemporary framework architecture.

CENTRAL PANEL

Dating from ca. 1495, the original substance of the poplar panels is well preserved and therefore did not require conservation. Nevertheless, the paintings’ aesthetic had been severely compromised by earlier restorations. Yellowed layers of varnish, strongly darkened retouched areas and glazes applied over the course of time had completely changed the overall colouration of the original painting.

Central panel, Madonna and Child

Condition before (l.) and after (r.) restoration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



















Following the cautious removal of all earlier restorations, followed by precise retouching, the panel paintings today present themselves once again in their original colouration.

SIDE WINGS

 

Left wing, The Promise of St. John

Condition before (l.) and after (r.) restoration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right wing, detail of the Encounter at the Golden Gate, partly with old varnish (right side)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Detail in final condition

 

 

 

 










The polychrome Renaissance frame is not original and was adapted to the painting’s dimensions by extending its height. In the process of this extension, the original polychromy of the frame was overpainted in certain areas. This overpainting had become severely discoloured with age and was therefore removed. Areas of the inaccurately repaired carving were likewise renewed, and all of the places no longer bearing polychromy were puttied and retouched.


























Following the successful completion of the restoration measures, the painting and frame are once again on display in the picture gallery of the Städel Museum as a splendid ensemble.

Thanks to generous support from BNP PARIBAS, the Städel Museum’s team of conservators was assisted in this project by an independent painting conservator and an independent frame conservator.

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