Nelson-Atkins Museum El Greco Masterpiece Restoration

Bank of America has announced that it will provide funding, through its global Art Conservation Project, to conserve The Penitent Magdalene, which is among the artist El Greco’s most precious works, at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco. Spanish, 1541–1614. The Penitent Magdalene, ca. 1580–1585. Oil on canvas. Purchase: Nelson Trust,

Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco. Spanish, 1541–1614. The Penitent Magdalene, ca. 1580–1585. Oil on canvas. Purchase: Nelson Trust,

This conservation work is one of 25 projects in 17 countries around the world that was selected for grant funding in 2013. The program has funded conservation at Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Guggenheim in New York, the Tokyo National Museum, and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. The painting was last restored in 1949.

After careful examination of the painting and the study of comparable paintings by El Greco, the conservation work was begun in Spring 2013 by Scott Heffley, Senior Conservator, Paintings, at the Nelson-Atkins.

“The Penitent Magdalene needed some careful attention and repair, with lots of over-paint covering damages that occurred to the painting perhaps hundreds of years ago,” said Heffley. “I’ve been able to remove various campaigns of past restoration work down and am now down to the remaining original painting. Much of this cleaning involved the carefully scratching off of old restoration using a microscope and a scalpel. I will soon begin the process of rebuilding the damaged parts so that El Greco’s original intent can resurface.”

For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson- atkins.org.
That process is expected to take months.

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