Facelifts & Make-overs - stories from our conservation studio
This self-portrait by the Utrecht painter Paulus Moreelse underwent conservation treatment especially for an exhibition about self-portraits. As is customary, the conservator began by removing the varnish layers that had yellowed dramatically. That resulted here in a true facelift, because Moreelse’s face came completely back to life. His collar also turned out to contain more detail than originally thought. Later additions from previous restorations were then also removed, notably in the black clothing and background. These were areas where a lot of original paint had been lost. Retouching these missing areas was a big undertaking. In the black sections especially, this was made all the more difficult by the subtle nuances of colour. A costume specialist provided important tips for better understanding these colour variations in the black areas. Since its treatment, this self-portrait has been on permanent display in the museum, in a new frame, which makes the black outfit stand out all the more.