Research and restoration of two paintings by Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen
Two paintings by Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen (c. 1500-1559) were recently restored and subjected to an extensive examination in the Frans Hals Museum. These were Cardinal Érard de la Marck (owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam) and The Holy Family (owned by Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage, on loan to the Frans Hals Museum since 1948).
For some time, it was thought that these two paintings once formed a pair or even a diptych. This is suggested by the matching compositions of the two paintings. For instance, the angel in the top right corner of the portrait of the cardinal points to the Holy Family in the other painting, and both panels are illuminated from the same source in the middle. In addition the green drapery in the background of the cardinal’s portrait is continued in The Holy Family.
The restoration uncovered much of Vermeyen’s original paint surface. A visual analysis and a technical study of the paintings produced new arguments to support the hypothesis that the two currently separated panels once formed a pair.
Unfortunately there is no firm evidence, but the suggestion is so strong that it has been decided to display the paintings together from now on.
This presentation describes the art historical and technical research as well as the practical aspects of the restoration.