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Una Serata Italiana con You Jin Noh
May 26, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFREE
The Adoration of the Shepherds c. 1510 by Sebastiano del Piombo (1485 – 1547) is finally on display at the
Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge for the first time in 70 years, after having been through many years of research and restoration.
The painting had long been considered ‘lost’ due to its heavily damaged condition. It was originally painted on a wooden
panel but the paint layer was removed and transferred onto canvas in the eighteenth century while owned by Duc d’Orleans, in a misguided attempt to preserve it. This caused uncountable losses on the paint surface and the composition was almost completely over-painted through subsequent restoration.
The decision to restore the painting took 35 years of deliberation and was finally approved in 2008 because of the important historical value of the painting within Sebastiano’s oeuvre. The Adoration is considered to be either the last painting executed by Sebastiano del Piombo before he left Venice for Rome or the painting marking the beginning of his
Despite the losses, the richly available information within damages could provide the information to trace back the painting’s original appearance. The study on artist’s painting technique through pigment analysis demonstrated Sebastiano’s sophisticated system of layering colours with the most precious pigments such as ultramarine and red lake. A close study of an early copy of Sebastiano’s original painting from The Louvre, Paris was also important source of information as well as use of live models, lay-figure and preparatory drawing.
The crucial stage of restoration such as retouching the losses required a new way of approach, due to the condition of the painting, which could be called ‘line layering retouching’.
Conservator Youjin Noh has spent seven years of her career restoring the painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds by Sebastiano del Piombo. The talk will present the dramatic past of the painting and the details of restoration process undertaken to bring back the Adoration of the Shepherds to public view.