CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rescued masterpiece

Exhibition: 20 February - 22 March 2015

Information from the curator, 3 March 2015

The exhibition of one painting by a unknown Netherlandish artist of the late 16th – early 17th century – “Christ and Zacchaeus”

Recently on February 20, 2015 new exhibition “Rescued masterpiece” has been opened at the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts (Ekaterinburg, Russia). It represents one painting by unknown Netherlandish artist of the late 16th – early 17th centuries – “Christ and Zacchaeus”. In the Ural region it is exhibited for the first time. Its attribution is still in the course of investigations because there is no traces of artist’s signature. When the picture was given to the collection of Sverdlovsk Art Gallery (the previous name of the museum) it was noted as the Dutch artist of Roelant Savery’s circle.

According to the researches made in Grabar All-Russian Art, Scientific and Restoration Center (Moscow) the picture is known to be painted by a Netherlandish artist at the end of the 16th – the beginning 17th centuries. Picture size is 113,0х186,0 cm. Originally it was painted on wooden panel consisted of three horizontal planks put together. But in 1887 during the restoration the picture was transferred to canvas by Ivan Sidorov who was representative of the famous St. Petersburg restorers dynasty.

The life story of this masterpiece is truly dramatic. The painting has been known to us since 1887 – this date is in the autograph of painting restorer, left at the back of the canvas.

It is known that the picture belonged to the collection of the Prince Nikita Dundukov (Dondukov)-Korsakov. Then it was inherited by his family. The picture suffered the fire at the family estate “Glubokoye” (Pskov province) in 1908. But it was saved and transported to another estate “Hmelita” (Smolensk province) where it was stored till 1917. After 1917 the picture was nationalized and came to Sverdlovsk Picture Gallery collection. In 1983 it suffered the flooding.

That time the Gallery didn’t have its own restoration workshops therefore the picture was sent to Grabar All-Russian Art, Scientific and Restoration Center in Moscow. Unluckily, the picture suffered the fire again – in 2006 and 2010. After these awful events the picture has been transferred to new canvas and fully restored.

In April 2014, the picture was one of the main exhibits of “Preserving Cultural Heritage” exhibition: Paintings and Drawings of Old Masters from Collections of Russian Museums after Restoration” in Moscow.

Recently, the painting has returned to its native museum. Today the visitors are able not only to personally evaluate the result of the restoration, but also to take a closer look at all the phases of restoration process, accompanied by photographic evidence.