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Minneapolis Institute of Arts: The Gamblers, Restored

MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS

Hendrick Ter Brugghen’s painting The Gamblers is a highlight of the MIA’s permanent collection. The painting recently returned from a year-long stay at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles where it underwent an extensive restoration.

Analysis of the paint revealed the presence of a pigment known as smalt. Smalt is a very transparent blue pigment made from ground glass that is colored with cobalt oxide. Its origins can be traced to the Near East, with the earliest occurrence of smalt used in European painting dating from the 15th century, and largely disappearing from use about 1800. Smalt is known as a fugitive pigment, due to its natural tendency to discolor from exposure to light and air. A blue sky painted with smalt will eventually appear gray, as the blue smalt slowly turns black.

This portfolio exhibition documents the full conservation treatment of the painting, and explores the historical context of both the artist and his subject, a popular theme in seventeenth-century European art.

Saturday, May 24, 2008—Sunday, August 3, 2008
Cargill Gallery 103
Free Exhibition

Hendrick Ter Brugghen (Dutch, 1588-1629), The Gamblers, 1623 (post-conservation), oil on canvas, The William Hood Dunwoody Fund
Hendrick Ter Brugghen (Dutch, 1588-1629), The Gamblers, 1623 (post-conservation), oil on canvas, The William Hood Dunwoody Fund
Hendrick Ter Brugghen (Dutch, 1588-1629), The Gamblers, 1623 (pre-conservation), oil on canvas, The William Hood Dunwoody Fund
Hendrick Ter Brugghen (Dutch, 1588-1629), The Gamblers, 1623 (pre-conservation), oil on canvas, The William Hood Dunwoody Fund
Composite image of The Gamblers, before (left) and after conservation (right).
Composite image of The Gamblers, before (left) and after conservation (right).
Two modern strips of canvas were added at an unknown date, one to each side of the painting, extending the horizontal dimensions of the original canvas.
Two modern strips of canvas were added at an unknown date, one to each side of the painting, extending the horizontal dimensions of the original canvas.
Detail of soldiers, before (top) and after conservation (bottom).
Detail of soldiers, before (top) and after conservation (bottom).
X-radiograph image of The Gamblers. Films produced at the J. Paul Getty Museumââââ‚
X-radiograph image of The Gamblers. Films produced at the J. Paul Getty Museum’s conservation laboratory, 2006.

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