Exhibit explores ethical choices in art restoration
Old Master paintings prove a challenge to museums — how to conserve 400-year-old art without ruining its integrity with contemporary interventions?
“Restoration and Revelation: Conserving the Suida-Manning Collection,” an exhibit now at the Blanton, explores the ethical and aesthetic choices involved in art restoration and conservation, in particular the Old Master paintings and drawings from the museum’s famed Suida-Manning Collection.
Using the recently restored 17th-century painting “The Death of Rachel” by Antonio Carneo as a focal point, the exhibit investigates how curators and conservators wrestle with the challenges presented by Renaissance and Baroque artworks. When the Blanton acquired the Carneo work in 1998, the canvas had severe structural issues and paint loss. Restoration efforts took more than 500 hours and were documented with video and photos that are included in the current exhibit.
In conjunction with the show, “Holiday Family Days: What’s Old is New Again,” allows children and their adult companions to explore the science of art conservation and how the materials used to make art can be tricky to preserve.
Family-oriented tours, games and hands-on activities allow all-ages visitors to see art in a new way.
Antonio Carneo’s “The Death of Rachel,” circa 1660-1670, is an oil on canvas from the Suida-Manning Collection at the Blanton Museum of Art. It is in the exhibit “Restoration and Revelation: Conserving the Suida-Manning Collection.”