The latest issue of The Burlington Magazine appears today. The main article is an exclusive report by Uta Neidhardt and Christoph Schölzel on the restoration of Vermeer’s Young Woman Reading a Letter at an Open Window in the collection of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
It has long been known from x-rays that Young Woman Reading a Letter at an Open Window, originally included a painting of a naked Cupid on the wall behind the woman. New technical investigation, published now for the first time, has revealed that it was not overpainted by Vermeer, as was assumed, but much later, perhaps in the eighteenth century.
During the current restoration, a test removal of part of the overpaint revealed that the painting of Cupid has survived in outstandingly good condition, with even the structure of Vermeer’s brushstrokes still visible. As a result, it has been decided that all the overpaint will be removed, revealing for the first time in several centuries the painting as Vermeer completed it. As well as presenting the results of the technical examination, this exclusive article outlines the discussion that preceded the decision permanently to uncover the Cupid and offers some observations on the impact the restoration will have on our understanding of Vermeer’s art.
Young Woman Reading a Letter at an Open Window will be displayed in its current semi-restored state in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister until 16 June 2019.
Table of Contents
Building in the shadow of history
The restoration of Vermeer’s ‘Young woman reading a letter at an open window’: an interim report
Uta Neidhardt and Christoph Schölzel
Neo-classicism in technicolour: the Melbourne cabinets by Adam Bowett with a note on the Firle Sèvres dessert service
Delacroix after Goya’s ‘Caprichos’: a new sheet of drawings
François Gérard’s portraits of Alexandrine Émilie Brongniart
Kathryn Calley Galitz
The first known record of Piero della Francesca’s ‘Flagellation of Christ’ and the question of its inscription
Machtelt Brüggen Israëls
The patron of Raphael’s ‘Madonna of the candelabra’ and its medieval sources
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