'David and Abigail in the desert' c.1650 oil on canvas
Artist: Jan Christaensz Micker (1600-64), Private collection
The painting is a mid-seventeenth century Dutch panel painting, depicting a scene from the Old Testament. The painting was varnished with a natural resin varnish, which had discoloured over time and was obscuring the image. The sky had also been heavily overpainted in the past (see figure 1, the painting before treatment).
A solvent solution removed the varnish and some of the old restoration. Samples were removed, with the owner’s permission, to determine the level of overpaint present on the painting (See figure 3 for a cross-section from the painting). A conservation-grade varnish was applied to the painting, and reintegration of areas of loss undertaken.
Before conservation treatment.
During removal of the discoloured varnish.
Cross-section of paint taken from the top right corner of the painting, in the blue sky area. The top layer is non-original overpaint. Photomicrograph taken at 40x magnification.
Top right corner of the painting, showing darker blue overpaint covering discoloured varnish and underneath these layers three little birds in the sky.
Top right corner of the painting, after removal of old overpaint and varnish, revealing the three birds in the sky.
The painting after cleaning and filling of losses (the white areas are the filler material), before inpainting.
The painting after treatment.