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Current time:0:00Total duration:2:31

Conservation | René Magritte, "The Palace of Curtains, III," 1928-29

Video transcript

- So in Palace of Curtains, III, we did a lot of investigation on the painting. The varnish was not something that Magritte would have chosen for this work. We realized that this painting should not be varnished. We first very carefully test solubility, and then I removed the dirt with an aqueous solution, and then the varnish was removed with a solvent. After the varnish removal, we started to see how the painting became more three-dimensional, appreciating more the very delicate shadowing that he does on each side of the forms. And in the case of the shape on the right, he did that in reserve. He painted everything else and left that ground exposed to then draw it and paint it. We revealed very clearly the ground layer, which had turned yellow. He actually had painted in that, in this shape with white paint, added white paint to the ground, almost re-creating a white cloud. Looking at the lettering, you can easily tell that he used a very fluid paint, and almost continuously he drew it. So we realized that possibly he would have used not only oil, but added a different mixture of paint to make the paint very fluid. He used probably a quarter of an inch brush. It was not a calligraphy brush. If he would have used a calligraphy brush, he couldn't have, be so precise in the thickness of the letters. The other thing that became more evident with the cleaning was that you could clearly see the pencil marks around the shapes. He actually drew the shapes before he painted them. Well, now that the conservation, the cleaning of the painting is done, all the subtleties of the painting, which were obliterated by the varnish, they are clear now and you can also appreciate more the delicate passages of the painting.