As Layers of Old Varnish Are Removed, Italian Renaissance Painter Ercole de’ Roberti’s Brilliance Is Revealed Once Again

Jun 26, 2019 262


Although he was among the most renowned Italian painters of the late fifteenth century, Ercole de’ Roberti almost slipped through the cracks of history. Within a hundred years of his death, historians had muddled even the basic details of his life, and over the next three centuries all but two of his surviving works were attributed to different artists. The exceptions were a pair of panels depicting scenes from the Passion, the dramatic events leading up to Christ’s death of the cross.

These remarkable paintings recently underwent a major conservation treatment at the Getty Museum. Originally painted for the church of San Giovanni al Monte in Bologna, the works now belong to the Gemäldegalerie Alter Meister in Dresden. Conservation is a fundamental mandate of The J. Paul Getty Trust’s cultural and philanthropic mission, and the Paintings Conservation Department routinely undertakes partnerships with other institutions in order to provide conservation assistance with their collections. The project marks the third conservation partnership between the Getty and the Gemäldegalerie, initiatives made possible by the Getty’s Paintings Council.

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