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