The Discovery of A Major Early Work

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Marshall Ballroom North (Marriott Wardman Park)
Anikó Bezur, Yale University , New Haven, CT
Ian McClure, Yale University, West Haven, CT
The Education of the Virgin, a painting now accepted as an early work by the great seventeenth-century Spanish artist, Diego Velázquez, was given to Yale University Art Gallery in 1925. The reattribution, based on stylistic evidence was published in 2010 and spurred a systematic examination and conservation of the painting. Research Scientists Anikό Bezur and Jens Stenger, working closely with the Gallery’s conservators Ian McClure and Carmen Albendea, identified techniques and materials which proved consistent with his practice during his early career in Seville. ‘Reverse engineering’ an artist’s technique and materials to his earliest work is problematic when documentary evidence is scarce, but Yale’s painting revealed technical information which tied it closely to his other early works. The painting’s damaged state revealed details, normally hidden, which explained features noticed in other better preserved works by the artist.