• Short Summary

    In London at the National Gallery restoration work on Nicholas Possin's famous work "The Adoration of the Golden Calf" has started.

  • Description

    SV ZOOM IN Painting "the Adoration of the Golden Calf" by Nicholas Poussin (SILENT)

    CU Chief restorer, Arthur Lucas, speaking about restoration PAN TO picture

    ARTHUR LUCAS: "The picture was damaged by being cut, or appeared to have been cut here and the rest was torn and the tearing stretched the original canvas. And you can see haze that has formed on the picture. This is due to the varnish actually tearing and breaking up. That can be repaired quite easily. But the main difficulty is shrinking the pieces back. The picture is now is in the stage where I've stuck it down on vinyl, which is a thin form of plastic material, so that I can temporarily get the pieces to register, so I can glue them together. It is quite difficult to know where to start because if one is a fraction of a millimetre out here, one would be several millimetre out over there because it would be magnified by the length. When I've satisfied myself that I've got all the pieces in the right place and glued down, I shall put a facing down over this picture and hold it in position. Then I shall stick it down on to a strong piece of canvas and then it shall be stuck down on to marine plywood to give it a rigid support. Because this picture now is......quite brittle due to its age, and it helps to preserve it and preserve the joints. When I've finished that, I've got to fill up the paint losses. Where the canvas has stretched, near the tears, it is quite losses and I have to fix the paint down on to the original canvas and now I've got to putty those sort of things up. And this is the most difficult part. Most people think that the colour matching is the difficult part, but actually it is getting the surface texture right. It is very difficult to deceive the human eye against texture, specially in bright light. But once that's been achieved the painting will be varnished and put back on to exhibition again. This should be about the end of this year."

    Initials BB/2020

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In London at the National Gallery restoration work on Nicholas Possin's famous work "The Adoration of the Golden Calf" has started. The painting, which critics say is one of the most important works by the 17th century French artist, was slashed at the beginning of April (1978) and at one stage experts thought the damage might be irreparable.

    SYNOPSIS: Chief restorer is Mr. Arthur Lucas, who says it could be ready for exhibiting again next year.

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