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FRAME at last; historic painting goes back on view.

HI-TECH conservation work has revealed the hidden history of one of the Walker Art Gallery's most fascinating large paintings.

The gallery has welcomed back Virgin and Child in Glory, a 344-year-old altarpiece by Bartolome Esteban Murillo, following the major conservation project.

The project has revealed more about the dramatic history of the painting, and about the skills and techniques employed by the renowned Spanish artist.

The conservation work, funded by the Art Fund, is the first to have been carried out on the altarpiece in more than 150 years.

Conservators at National Museums Liverpool used infrared reflectography to observe sketches and outlines that were sometimes disregarded as the artist's approach to the composition evolved.

Curator of European Art at National Museums Liverpool, Xanthe Brooke, said: "It's been fascinating to discover how the artist revised his composition on the canvas, making improvements and experimenting with new ideas as he worked."

The altarpiece was originally commissioned by the Archbishop of Seville (1670-1684), Ambrosio Ignacio Spinola y Guzman.

By the early 1800s, the central section was in London, while the rest was looted by a French general and taken to Paris.

In 1862, the original pieces were reunited, before it was acquired by the Walker in 1953. X-ray analysis has allowed the skilful reinsertion work to be now seen.


Walker Gallery staff re-hang the painting after the conservation work Picture: GARETH JONES

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 8, 2017
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