Visit the Conservator

Stories from the conservator. Paintings

In this section, conservators at SMK describe the conservation that they carry out as part of their day-to-day work, in small, short stories. The tasks are wide-ranging, and these stories cover the treatment and investigation of many artworks of very different character and condition.

Discover stories about paintings from the conservator

A Monarch in Madrid

Back in the 1760s the preparations for Christian VII’s wedding included commissioning twelve portraits of various regents to decorate the so-called Potentates’ Room, which was the antechamber of the Great Hall at Christiansborg Palace. Seven of these twelve paintings still survive today, and all belong to SMK. The remaining five perished in the various palace fires that have plagued Copenhagen.

Read about the conservators work

Mapping the surface with 3D scanning

At SMK we have tested 3D scanning for documenting artworks and their technique and condition. The technique was tested on two Tal R paintings from the SMK collection.

Read about 3D scanning on artworks by Tal R

The SMK frame collection

The SMK collection of frames consist of 7,300 frames and they can reveal more history and information than is immediately apparent. The collection covers a wide range of styles, dates, materials, and countries of origin.

Read more about the SMK frame collection

Revealing the Secrets of a Master Flower Painter

During preparation for the exhibition Flowers and World Views, which opens at SMK in spring 2013, two paintings by the German-Dutch flower and still-life painter Abraham Mignon (1640-1679) were examined down to the smallest detail.

Read more about what technical analysis could reveal

Restoring Joakim Skovgaard's masterpiece

In Christianskirken in Klaksvík on the Faroe Islands, one of Joakim Skovsgaard's masterpieces, The Last Supper, hangs as an altarpiece.  It is currently being restored.

Read about how the work that SMK has loaned to a church is being restored

A grid of red chalk - Matisse's use of grids as an aid

In 2009, Henri Matisse's work Le Luxe II was restored at SMK. In this context, a number of technical studies were carried out in order to gain a greater understanding of the painting's creation and of Matisse's painting technique.

A rediscovered masterpiece

This small panel painting of the Madonna and Child had been tucked away in storage for decades because of yellowed varnish, discolored retouchings and several layers of surface dirt.

Read about the work that proved to be of surprisingly high quality

© Succession H. Matisse/

Matisse - the frame in focus

In preparation for the new presentation of the museum's French collection, one of the museum's masterpieces by Henri Matisse was brought in to the conservation workshop.

Read about how the frame stole the spotlight from Madame Matisse

Small portraits - big problems

A miniature, or rather a portrait miniature, can be used as jewellery or hung for decoration in small cabinets.

Read the story of how some of the tiniest pieces of art are protected for posterity

Madonna in gold and egg tempera

From time to time, the museum's artworks must pay a visit to the conservation studios. A recent vistor was a Madonna painted by Cecco di Pietro. The painting was restored by conservator Troels Filtenborg.

Andrea Mantegna's Christ as the Suffering Redeemer

The message of Easter - about suffering, resurrection, and redemption - constitutes the main theme of Icon. Its realism and spatial depth and the vivid pain seen in the face of Christ broke new ground within the realm of painting

Read about the work

Preparations for a Journey

Peter Paul Rubens The Ascent to Calvary. The Bearing of the Cross, c. 1634, is being conserved prior to returning temporarily to an exhibition in its native Belgium.

Read about the preparations for the journey

A Masterpiece by L.A. Ring

L.A. Ring’s painting Harvest has been exposed to quite a few things during its 120 years of history. Now the art work has been restored for the exhibition L.A. Ring. On the edge of the world.

Read the story about how the art work was prepared

Ortolano. An Altarpiece of Poplar Wood

Conservation is a complex and resource demanding process.

Read about the conservation of the altarpiece Saint Margaret

Striving for calm and intimacy

It is not unusual that a conservator discover something during the course of his/her everyday work that piques the curiosity and which, upon closer inspection, offers up new knowledge that adds to our understanding of the artist’s work and helps elucidate his working process.

Delve into the art work, Woman seen from the back by Hammershøi

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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