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Subject: Inscribed 17th century portraits

Inscribed 17th century portraits

From: Serena Urry <surry>
Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2004
We have a pair of early 17th c. Italian portraits that were
accessioned in 1944.  They are of the same child at two different
ages.  Both are inscribed with name and age in paint at the top
against a monochrome background.  One of the inscriptions is, if not
original, at least centuries old.  It was originally black with
yellow highlights and has been repainted two or three times.  The
other inscription consists of one layer of black paint suspended in
varnish, with no apparent older paint beneath.  It solubilizes
readily with the varnish and likely dates to the 20th c.  (There are
qualitative differences between the two as well.)

On behalf of the curator, I am posting here to see first, if anyone
else has encountered a situation like this, specifically an old
painting with a modern inscription or a pair of paintings with
inscriptions of different ages.  And second, if the work(s)
underwent treatment, were the modern inscriptions left intact and
why (or why not)?

Serena Urry
Associate Conservator of Paintings
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:11
                 Distributed: Thursday, August 12, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-11-036
Received on Wednesday, 11 August, 2004

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