The great masters
The earliest painting in this collection of rare and unique images is a Greek icon that traces its style back one thousand years from the 12th century to the 1st century Hellenistic Roman portraits of Egypt at El-Fayűm and Antinoe.
A gold-background Madonna and Child with saints painted around the fourteenth century shows Italian art gradually moving away from the influence of Byzantium painting.. The Italian High Renaissance is represented by the superb painting of a Florentine beauty by Ghirlandaio done in the 1550s. The mannerist period is represented by a work by Domenico Puligo and French eighteenth-century art by two paintings by Jean-Baptiste Greuze. A portrait of the tragic Miss Elizabeth Wynne by the the Welsh Old-Master Richard Wilson is one of the treats to discover amongst the Old Masters.
Why should we take care of humanity's artistic patrimony?
Old Master paintings done hundreds of years ago have the power, even today, to move us by the skill with which the artist painted, with love and dedication, a landscape, portrait or a still life. A painting portrays the spirit and the feelings of the times the artist lived in.
Whether a work of art is by an artist who is well-known, signed and dated or an anonymous or forgotten painter, they both share a common fate that, once the work of art has been lost or destroyed it will never be replaced. The Restoration & Conservation section is a useful guide to the rich, interesting and little known world which is the care and the restoration of Old Master paintings. The site also shows a live example of the conservation of an actual painting and its transformation from a darkened torn and damaged canvas to the work of art as it appears, in all its splendour, today.
Cartoon of the Month
Rembrandt's life is a microcosm of all artists. One of the most modern of the Old Masters, his life and adventures in seventeenth-century Amsterdam mirror to a surprising degree the vicissitudes, problems, domestic and economic, difficulties with his in-laws and social security to which even today, artists are exposed.
Caring for Old Master Paintings
Discover the misunderstood world of paintings conservation, an art long qualified as a secretive profession of craftsmen with origins going back to before the thirteenth century.
The ideas and fashions of restoration practiced in the past, as well as today's more subtle approach to cleaning Old Master paintings that preserves, as much as possible, the artist's original support, glazes, colours and varnishes. The conservator is today assisted by many modern technologies that include ultraviolet and infra-red photography, even X-radiation.
Caring for Old Master Paintings examines many Old Master paintings that have actually been restored. Concrete examples of proven restoration techniques. reveal the fascinating world of art conservation. The reader, whether owner of a precious family heirloom, scholar, simple art lover or art professional discovers a new vision on the world of paintings preservation. Verify if a painting is genuine or a forgery and care and look after paintings safely. Gain a greater awareness and sensitivity to Old Masters and to paintings in general.