How the painting looked before cleaning
The varnishes that were applied around 75 years ago had discoloured with age, leaving the painting with a surface layer of yellowish brown, and distorting the colours of the paint underneath.
Removing the varnish
Larry removed the varnish using a mixture of organic solvents that dissolve the varnish alone, and do not affect the paint underneath.
What was revealed?
Removing the varnish made the colours of the painting much clearer, particularly Rubens’s juxtaposition of warm and cool tones.
The treatment also revealed areas of the painting that had been retouched over the years, and now need restoring.
Now that the varnish and areas of retouching have been removed, the next step is to work on the structural treatment.