An exciting lecture about conservation history and the search for the artist.
ABOUT THE PORTRAIT OF GRATIA SUSANNA TJARDA VAN STARKENBORGH BORN CLANt
Marjan de Visser and Marya Albrecht look for the conservation history of the portrait. They are restoring this painting on behalf of Landgoed Verhildersum. The restoration was made possible in part by the Rembrandt Association.
Marjan de Visser talks about this exciting conservation and restoration project in the context of ‘Groninger History Day’. This is a beautiful historic event in October 2020. The lecture could be followed via a lifestream on 18 October. The lecture can also be viewed via the following link:
Introduction to conservation history
During the conservation and restoration of the Portrait of Gratia, we made special discoveries about the conservation history and the painting itself. Partly because of this, we got more and more questions and the painting became more and more mysterious. On the advice of our supervisory committee, we, therefore, visited Groningen in the hope of finding answers to our questions.
The purpose of our search
The goal was to find portrait paintings with similar representations. In this way, we could prepare for the next phase in the restoration process: the construction. Unfortunately, our painting has suffered a lot of damage in the past. The performance lacks sharpness and brushwork. It would be nice if we could find a portrait of a lady with a similar design. It would also be interesting to find paintings with a similar restoration history. What struck us from the beginning about the painting was the shape of the stretcher and the relatively large wedges. We also found the blue tape around the edges of this stretcher very striking. Never before had we encountered this in a painting.
In preparation for our visit to Groningen, we made contact with the depot manager of the Groninger Museum Marlon Steensma to be able to view the collection of portraits there. Egge Knol, the curator at the Groninger Museum, advised us to also visit the Menkemaborg. There we could study portrait paintings. We also wanted to see the portrait paintings at Landgoed Verhildersum, especially the back. Would it be possible to find more paintings with a similar restoration history there? We also wanted to browse the map archive ourselves to find hidden information about the restoration history.
Go to the lecture and follow the exciting story about the discovery of the signature, its decryption, and more discoveries ….