Abildgaard – Open Studio
Restoring Three Masterpieces from the Christiansborg Palace
1 March 2011 - 24 June 2011
Come and visit
Museum conservators will carry out some of the restoration work in an open studio. Here museum visitors can watch the works undergo their gradual transformation. Regular information updates will follow both at the museum and on this website. Every Wednesday at 3 p.m., conservators will tell visitors about their work and progress.
"There my name goes up in flames"
The three paintings usually hang in the Abildgaard Room at Christiansborg Palace and constitute the three surviving paintings from Nicolai Abildgaard’s gargantuan labour for the Royal castle; an endeavour which was largely lost in the first fire at Christiansborg. "There my name goes up in flames" Nicolai Abildgaard supposedly said at the sight of the burning castle one February night in 1794. Thirteen years of labour fell prey to the flames just three years after the artist put the finishing touches to his work. His contributions to the palace interior, were regarded as a mile-stone within Danish art even in their own time.
Open studio for four months
For four months you can follow the museum’s conservators as they restore the three masterpieces. The paintings were brought to the museum of the exhibition Nicolai Abildgaard – Revolution Embodied in 2009. On that occasion the Gallery’s conservation staff noted the aesthetic short-comings of the paintings’ condition. Now it has become possible to carry out a much-needed restoration of the three large paintings.
What will happen?
Darkened restorations and yellowing varnish blight the paintings, and several instances of old, unrestored damage to the pigments and canvases are quite obvious. Conservators will remove the varnish, repair the discoloured retouchings and reconstruct the missing parts. After the application of a new layer of varnish, the paintings will once again be able to grace the Royal Reception Rooms at Christiansborg in true splendour.