Restoring a 400-Year-Old Painting: The 5-Minute Video to Change Your Art Appreciation

Most art forms involve some level of collaboration, sometimes with people who work long after you’ve done your part. Or in this case, after you’ve been dead for 300 years.   The five minute video covers Michael   Gallagher’s delicate process of restoring the vibrancy of this 17th century life-size family painting of the artist’s friend was in awful condition when it was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum last year. Gallagher’s team spent ten months working on the painting, removing decaying and discolored varnish as well as deconstructing the canvas and restoring places where it was poorly creased and even re-stitched. There’s something enticing about watching the artistry this team puts into saving someone else’s art, knowing that their work will go unnoticed by almost everyone. I know I’ll never look at museum paintings the same way again. 

Learn more about the painting from the Met’s Online Collection.