User: Marya Albrecht
Organisation: Atelier Albrecht Schilderijenrestauratie
Archive requested: Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España (IPCE)
Our project entails the conservation and material-technical analysis of The Madonna Enthroned surrounded by angels attributed to Joan Reixach (collection Foundation de Haar, Utrecht). This painting dates from the mid-15th century and is painted on a wooden panel. The painting consists of two sections separated by carved tracery. The lower part shows Mary seated on a throne with Jesus on her lap. They are surrounded by singing angels, of which two offer vases of lilies to Mary and child.
The upper part shows the crucified Christ with the three Mary’s on the left. On the right St. John the Evangelist is depicted, together with a small crowd of people on the far right. A walled city is painted in the background. As part of the conservation treatment we will remove old and degraded varnish layers, overpaint and dirt. Minor structural treatments will be carried out on the painting’s wooden support as well. During the treatment and material-technical analysis it became clear that some areas in the painting have suffered quite some degradation. The brocade dress of Mary is one such area. The brocade pattern is largely lost here and the gilded areas are partially overpainted. The blue tunics of some of the angels are also degraded, making it difficult to understand their shape. The panel support is structurally in a very good condition with only a few alterations. The central carved element at the top is missing. The finials left and right, as well as the lower rail, have been altered to some extent.
Spanish art of the 15th century is extremely rare in The Netherlands. This painting is one of very few examples in Dutch public collections. It is important for the continuation of our treatment to understand how these degraded areas might have looked originally. How does this painting compare to less degraded examples by the same artist or contemporaries? Researching other panels would also help us to get a better understanding of the original shape of the missing panel elements and lower rail. To gain a better understanding we wanted to look at technical data present in the archives of the Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España.