The new frame
The cleaning of the painting is not the only improvement observant visitors may notice. The painting is in a new frame purchased specially in 2009, one that is in keeping with the original setting. It incorporates the pilasters and cornice of a north Italian frame of about 1500.
Peter Schade, Head of Framing, created the new frame by referring to work by Giacomo del Maino who carved the original altarpiece for the ‘Virgin of the Rocks’.
Newly cleaned and framed in this way, the sculptural qualities of the painting can be appreciated afresh – the left hand of Leonardo’s Virgin now almost reaches out of the painting. Years of research have brought huge benefits, not just to our understanding of a great artist, but also to the way we appreciate one of his finest works.
The full findings from the research into Leonardo’s ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ are now available in the Technical Bulletin – see the article from Volume 33
You can learn more about the work of scientists, curators and conservators online. Read online case studies to find out more about the stories hidden under the paint.