Can you explain a little bit of the restoration process for this painting? What needed to be done?
AFTER conservation treatment: This powerful representation of Jesus rising from the dead is at once naturalistic and mystical. Strongly contrasting light and dark tones enhance the drama of the nocturnal scene and contribute to the illusion of depth and realism of the figures. Giuseppe Maria Crespi, called “lo Spagnuolo," The Resurrection of Christ, circa 1690, oil on canvas, Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina
Conservator Noelle Ocon: Like all Old Masters paintings, the painting had a varnish, or top coat, on it that had discolored over time. Removing the varnish, and revarnishing, returns the clarity to the paint layer and saturates the color. The cool and warm colors are again rebalanced.
BEFORE conservation treatment
What did you find that was surprising while restoring this painting?
NO: It was wonderful to image the painting using x-radiography and see the ideas the artist had tried out during the 18th century. It appears Crespi had a tough time deciding how Jesus’ arms should be positioned! We also discovered the painting was in surprisingly good condition considering its age.
This X-radiograph of Crespi’s The Resurrection of Christ shows the painter’s attempts to work through compositional difficulties. Note the changes in the Christ figure’s head and raised arm.
How does it look now?
NO: The varnish is now clear and the colors are as Crespi intended, vibrant and balanced. The painting is now on view in the Italian Gallery. Enjoy!