lundi, novembre 23, 2009

NEW YORK POST: Velasquez by Keith Christiansen ( Christiansen fan club i suppose)

Admiration for art restoration


Last Updated: 4:41 AM, November 20, 2009

Posted: 3:44 AM, November 20, 2009

YOU know those great "Antiques Roadshow" moments, when the sketch in the basement turns out to be a van Gogh? The Met had a similar thrill recently, only with a painting by the late Velazquez.

The piece in question was a heavily varnished, clumsily retouched "Portrait of a Man" the Met acquired in 1949. Initially touted as a work by the 17th-century Spanish master, it was later demoted to being merely "of his school."

Even so, Met curator Keith Christiansen couldn't keep his eyes off it.

"I'm no Velazquez expert, but for 20 years I wondered: Who in the hell painted that?" he says. Last summer, he asked a master restorer to clean it up.

And there, under layers of ugly lacquer and paint, was a vibrant work that Velazquez scholar Jonathan Brown hailed as the real thing.

Looking as new as the day it was painted -- more than 350 years ago -- it's an informal portrait of a man who may, in fact, be the artist himself: all bony nose, shoulder-length dark hair and upturned mustache.

"It's now my favorite mustache," says Michael Gallagher, the man who restored it. "It's not every day a picture transforms this way."

"Portrait of a Man" will be on display through Feb. 7 with other works by Velazquez and his students.

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