Press Room

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2011

Adoration of the Magi returns to The Hyde

Adoration of the Magi returns home to The Hyde

The Hyde’s Antwerp Mannerist panel painting, the Adoration of the Magi (c. 1518-30), recently returned from the Williamstown Art Conservation Center where it received an extensive conservation treatment. The work was purchased by Louis and Charlotte Hyde from Milch Galleries in New York City in 1929 and they hung the painting in the Music Room of Hyde House. It remained there until 2003, when it was removed by the curatorial department and placed in storage due to its unstable condition. The paint surface was discolored due to old inpainting from prior restorations, areas of loss were noticeably visible, and the oak panel was warped, resulting in an image that was visually distracting and art historically perplexing. 

 Before Conservation Treatment                  After Conservation Treatment

In 2010, the Museum received a grant from the Greater Hudson Heritage Network to conserve this painting and restore its appearance to represent more closely its original state. The work was sent to Williamstown Art Conservation Center where paintings conservator Sandra Webber undertook the conservation treatment. Webber wrote an article describing the discoveries made during the treatment process that was recently published in Art Conservator, a publication of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. The new findings include identifying the sources for images of the “Adoration of the Magi” in Antwerp in the southern Netherlands (later Belgium) and the artist who was at the center of their popularity and production. According to recent research, small devotional paintings based on the life of Mary achieved great popularity in Antwerp, an international center of trade and commerce in the early sixteenth century. Today, more than forty versions have been identified that are similar to The Hyde’s composition. The source for this particular image can be traced to the workshop of Jan de Beer (ca. 1475 – before 1528), one of a handful of known Antwerp artists working in this period. Though the prototype by Jan de Beer is lost, The Hyde’s painting is now firmly identified as one of the copies of the Jan de Beer masterpiece and, in its newly conserved condition, considered one of the finest among the group.

The painting is on view once again in the Music Room of Hyde House.     


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