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Current time:0:00Total duration:1:20

Conservation | René Magritte, "The False Mirror," 1928

Video transcript

Female Voiceover: The false mirror presents us with this enormous, lashless eye. Its iris is very and implausibly filled with this luminous cloud-swept blue sky, and then right at dead center is this matte black, opaque disk that doubles as its pupil. Male Voiceover: Before cleaning, the pupil was very shiny and glossy and refelctive. Once the vanish was removed, the black became very soft and deep, so it really does become the focus of the painting, and you could also see more details in the clouds in the sky, also details like the highlights in the corner of the eye became much more apparent and visceral. The white that forms the highlight on the white of the eye is in zinc, so it's a cooler white than the lead white used in the clouds, which are softer and warmer. We can actually distinguish these in x-rays images that we have of the painting.