Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Rubens

by Conservation

9/20/2018

behind the scenes , conservation , Peter Paul Rubens , Samson and Delilah

Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is heading out on loan next year and the borrower has requested a digital image for publication.  The oil sketch is one of a few paintings in our collection that is framed in a special sealed-environment package.  For this reason it’s rarely unframed.  Our paintings conservator is taking advantage of the unframing to check on the painting’s condition  and to do some minor cosmetic work on it.  Samson and Delilah is painted on a thin hardwood panel made of two joined planks. 

The join has failed in the past and been repaired, so the paint over the join has been retouched more than once in the four centuries since it was painted.  Our paintings conservator will do a little touch-up on the old retouching to make the join less obvious, before sending Samson and Delilah to be photographed.  Once it’s re-sealed in its framing package, the Rubens will be back on view until it goes out on loan next year.