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Antonello da Messina
Italian, 1430 - 1479
Antonello da Messina
Madonna and Child
c. 1475

Antonello da Messina (c. 1430 – 1479)
Madonna and Child
c.1475, oil and tempera on wood transferred from wood, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.30


Before restoration. Photograph:
Braun & Cie, 1901, carbon print


This pre-restoration photo documents the Madonna and Child while in the Benson Collection, London. Note the landscape, tassel on the pillow, and veil across the Virgin’s forehead in relation to the following images. It is assumed that the veil had become increasingly transparent over time, and was retouched in the late 19th century.


After Suhr treatment. Photograph:
Murray K. Keyes, after 1936(?), silver gelatin print



In 1936, Frick Collection conservator William Suhr transferred the panel to an auxiliary support and presumably removed the earlier additions to the landscape, pillow, veil, and sky


Current state. Photograph: National Gallery of Art



The current state of the painting largely reflects the 1936 restoration. The shadows of the robe of the child have further discolored, from a rich red to a dull gray due to a chemical change in the vermilion pigment. The blue repaint in the Virgin’s robe has darkened and no longer matches Antonello’s original paint.