Portrait of Mrs. Pitt

  • Attributed to Sir Godfrey Kneller (British, 1646-1723)
  • Oil on canvas|Private Collection, Brooklyn, NY

Painting restoration: overpaint removal and retouching

    • Portrait of Mrs. Pitt - Before
    • 1. The painting before restoration. The entire surface of the painting has been thickly overpainted. How much of the original paint has been preserved underneath? Will the quality of the remains be enough to convey the artist's skills and intentions? The owner of the painting is curious and brave, giving the conservator a "green light" to proceed.

    • Portrait of Mrs. Pitt - Process
    • 2. The painting during restoration. The overpaint is being carefully removed. Old (brownish-yellow) fillings where the ground and paint layers are damaged have become visible. Much of the paint has been abraded leaving the grayish ground layer visible.

    • Portrait of Mrs. Pitt - Process
    • 3. The painting during restoration. The overpaint has been removed. The extent of the damage and loss to the original painting has been revealed as well as its (indestructible) beauty and subtlety of execution.

    • Portrait of Mrs. Pitt - After
    • 4.The painting after restoration. Minimal retouching of the old fillings and the largest abrasions in the paint layer were enough to reestablish the aesthetic harmony of the painting, without the need to impose too much of the conservator's interpretation.