National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of An Architectural Fantasy Jan van der Heyden (artist)
Dutch, 1637 - 1712
An Architectural Fantasy, c. 1670
oil on oak panel
overall: 49.7 x 70.7 cm (19 9/16 x 27 13/16 in.) framed: 69.2 x 90.1 x 6.3 cm (27 1/4 x 35 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund
On View
From the Tour: Dutch Still Lifes and Landscapes of the 1600s
Object 6 of 8

Conservation Notes

The support consists of a single piece of oak, with horizontal grain. The support is in stable condition, although it has developed a moderate concave warp both along and across the grain. There are a number of fairly small cracks in the panel, including one about 10 cm long in the lower left, three smaller ones along the top edge, and another near the center of the bottom edge. In general, the edges of the panel have suffered minor damages, and the extreme top left corner is missing.[1]

The panel is covered with a thin white ground. Examination of the painting with infrared reflectography did not reveal any clear evidence of underdrawing. The paint is probably in an oil medium and is applied fairly smoothly. In some areas the application is wet into wet, and in others there is evidence of discrete layering. The figures appear to be painted on top of the background. In general the paint and ground layers are in fairly good condition. Small losses associated with the damages to the support mentioned above have occurred. As the ultraviolet photograph shows, there is extensive retouching from past restorations throughout the sky. In some areas, particularly along the edges, these cover abrasion, wear, and small losses. In other areas, however, the overpaint appears to be covering small linear "staining." Much of the overpaint covers areas of original paint, and in general the retouching in the sky is heavy, opaque, and discolored. Extensive strengthening has been carried out in certain areas, for example, in some of the clouds and in the balustrade. The surface of the painting is covered with a number of layers of aged natural resin varnish. No restoration on the painting has been undertaken at the National Gallery since its acquisition.

[1] The back of the panel bears the incription van der heyden, undoubtedly by another hand at a later date.

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