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Van Gogh's "The Bedroom" restored

09-04-2010 10:41 BJT

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One of Vincent van Gogh's most famous paintings, "The Bedroom" is a familiar image. It's been reproduced in countless hotel rooms, on calendars and coffee mugs, and in art books on the Impressionists of the late 19th century.

But it's only now more than 120 years later that "The Bedroom" has been restored to its former glory.

After a painstaking six-month process, the painting is expected to return to permanent home at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on Friday.

"The Bedroom" was painted in October 1888, near the end of a critical six-month period that defined Van Gogh as a painter. During that time he also painted "Sunflowers."

Early in 1889 when Vincent van Gogh returned to his studio from hospital, he found one of his favorite paintings damaged by moisture.

Moisture caused the canvas to shrink, pulling apart some of the paint at the edges, although it is unclear if that was immediately evident to the artist or if it happened later.

The painting was restored several times. Successive restorers have tried to retouch the cracks, each time covering up a bit more of the original paint.

Ella Hendriks, paintings restorer at the Van Gogh Museum scratched off microscopic layers of paint with a surgical scalpel and Japanese toothpicks after gently cleaning off most of the varnish with solvents.

She discovered two white points of light that had been painted over, apparently because the restorer had misunderstood Van Gogh's intention to show pinpoints of reflected sunlight from partially opened shutters.

But she said she had no ambition to make the painting exactly as Van Gogh had painted it. Tough choices had to be made throughout the delicate job.

Ella Hendriks, paintings restorer, Van Gogh Museum, said, "Van Gogh described he wanted a feeling of rest in the bedroom with this very plain, contrasting, bright color areas and removing the varnish and the overpaint has recovered the vivacity of the colors. But, also, the removal of the overpaint returns the rest and balance in the picture".

The painting was removed from exhibition in January and is available to be viewed this weekend.

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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