It has been quite a busy year! Until recently I had been on the road with the special exhibition Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered. It is not uncommon for paintings like me to travel the world. In fact, the North Carolina Museum of Art loaned works to 15 different exhibitions in 2008 from New York to Rome. Taking part in exhibitions provides us paintings a great chance to show off our stuff. Not to toot my own horn, but I was one of the real stars of the Jan Lievens exhibition!
As fun and exciting as it may all sound, a lot of planning and work happens behind the scenes to prepare for sending a work of art on the road. Back in October 2008, I was removed from my comfortable spot in the gallery and moved to the Museum’s conservation lab. While in the lab, the conservators did a very thorough job of examining me from top to bottom. I couldn’t be modest during this process—the conservators wanted to make sure that I was in good enough shape to withstand vigorous travel. I also had a fitting for my crate—it was built specifically to transport me from one venue to another. Crates are built to be super sturdy and protect works of art as they travel. The carpenters try to make it as comfortable as possible with extra foam padding, but it is not fun to be boxed up in the dark for a long time.
After much anticipation on my part, I was finally secured in my crate, the lid was screwed on, and I was on my way to my first stop—Washington, D.C. The ride was a little bumpy and I was relieved when I arrived at the National Gallery of Art. When the art handlers were ready to install me, they unscrewed my lid and took me out of my crate. Before I could be hung on the wall, the conservators looked me over again to make sure I didn’t get any bumps or bruises on the road trip. After a thumbs-up, I was hung on the wall with the other paintings. After a few deep breaths, I slowly relaxed and was able to take in the scenery. WOW—I recognized so many old friends from my artist’s studio even though it had been hundreds of years since I had seen them. What fun it was to be reunited with them for this exciting journey!
This post is part of the series Follow Our Journey. Follow The Feast of Esther and six other works of art on the Big Move to the Museum’s new building.