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  • Hi, I'm Rachel Turnbull. I'm Senior Collections Conservator for Fine Art at English Heritage.

  • This is a painting by Botticelli, or from Botticelli's workshop, of the Virgin and Child

  • with Four Angels. And it's from the Wernher Collection, which is displayed at Ranger's

  • House on Blackheath. Botticelli is a really popular artist, and

  • has been for a long time, and as a consequence of that there are lots of paintings that are

  • maybe not by him but by later followers or copyists. And we were never entirely sure,

  • or in recent years not entirely sure about exactly what our painting was in terms of

  • how close it was to him as an artist, and what we can say now after talking to lots

  • of experts and really examining this painting really closely in the studio: we now are fairly

  • sure that it is definitely from the workshop of Botticelli and so made in his studio space

  • by his assistants - perhaps not by the hand of the Master himself, but we're not too worried

  • about that. We think it was made in his workshop and the

  • person who purchased this work would have been buying, as far as they were concerned,

  • a Botticelli. We used lots of different scientific approaches

  • when we were investigating this painting. We look very closely under the microscope

  • before we even start. We carried out an X-ray on the painting, which

  • shows the panel construction. We used infrared reflectography, which shows us the initial

  • underdrawing, or at least some of the initial underdrawing, that was done in the studio

  • before this painting was put together. It may not have captured all of the underdrawing,

  • there's possibly some things that we can't see, but it does show quite a lot of broad

  • sketching-out and painting-in of the composition before the paint was applied.

  • I went out to Florence to the Uffizi to see the prime version, and spent him a long time

  • in the gallery in front of the picture along with the hundreds of members of the general

  • public, which was frankly an amazing experience; to stand in front of it for so long, knowing

  • that I had a little version of the big picture at home in the studio.

  • If you imagine a work like this being produced in the 15th century, it wasn't something that

  • one person could do on their own so popular artists like Botticelli would have had a large

  • workshop with lots of different craftsmen. Maybe somebody preparing the panels, people

  • preparing pigments, and people doing the drafting and the painting, and he wouldn't have worked

  • on all of the pieces himself. In our case, the painting would have been

  • made by his assistants, but it would have still been sold from that workshop as a Botticelli

  • and the people who bought it would have understood what that meant.

  • They weren't paying for the most expensive piece of work, but equally they were paying

  • for something from the Botticelli workshop. It's really interesting restoring a painting

  • of this age, from around 1480 or 1490, because you have hundreds of years of different restorations

  • and interventions that have been made, and actually what it feels like is a kind of mini-microscopic

  • archaeology as you begin to peel back those later restorations, which have probably been

  • made in good faith, but which are now not doing any great service to the picture, to

  • get back as close as you can to the original intention of the artist.

  • When you're working on a painting like this, you're with it for literally hundreds of hours.

  • And you do become incredibly connected to it. The funny thing is though as a conservator

  • you're connecting with the physicality of it, not so much the subject matter, but the

  • brushstrokes and theand the wood and the paint.

  • It's really amazing to work on a painting by Botticelli. When you do art history at

  • school or university, it's such an iconic name and suddenly to have one that you are

  • really close to and working on with your own hands is quite an extraordinary experience.

Hi, I'm Rachel Turnbull. I'm Senior Collections Conservator for Fine Art at English Heritage.

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波提切利:保護的科學 (Botticelli: The Science of Conservation)

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    Summer 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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