Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 177

Scientific intervention in two major Murillo canvases
Scientific intervention in two major Murillo canvases
After the intervention, areas of the works previously
unseen due to the heavy accumulation of surface
deposits and oxidized varnish were recovered and can
now be admired (figs. 19 & 20). A number of details
were clarified in The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, such
as a sailing boat in the depth of the landscape on the
sea of Galilee, a Moor in the group to the right – the
only one in either painting –, the feet of the apostles
in the second plane, and Jesus’s foot beside the basket.
Lastly, the way the groups of figures in the meadow were
painted is now clear: quick and confident brushstrokes
define the figures, but scale is constantly observed in
order to create perspective, and subtly capture the light
and shade created by the clouds (see fig. 1).
In Moses and the Water from the Rock of Horeb too, the
reflection on the water and the figures in shadow in
front of the rock have been fully recovered (see fig. 2).
Particularly striking is the supple rendering of the two
sheep in the foreground, one in light and the other in
shade. The cauldron held by the woman is noteworthy
too, being suspended, unsupported by the ground. The
group in the top right-hand area of the rock is also
interesting since the brushstrokes here are similar to those
used for the people in the meadow in the other picture.
The implementation of this project on two major Murillo
canvases has ensured the conservation and formal,
aesthetic appreciation of these magnificent works, together
with the recovery of all their artistic qualities, consonant
with their value as material objects and patrimonial
heritage. This, together with the management of all the
associated activities, has enhanced the collective awareness
of the conservation and preservation of these works.
Figs. 19 & 20 / Details of Moses and group
including Moor, pre- and post-restoration.


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