Velázquez Rediscovered

Velázquez, Diego, with essays by Jonathan Brown and Michael Gallagher, and an introduction by Keith Christiansen (2009)

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Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (3)
Velázquez Rediscovered

Velázquez Rediscovered features a newly identified painting by Velázquez, Portrait of a Man, formerly ascribed to the workshop of Velázquez, and recently reattributed to the master himself following its cleaning and restoration. It is shown alongside other works from the Museum's superior collection of works by the great Spanish painter.

In summer 2009 this arresting portrait was taken off the walls of the gallery where it had been shown for many years and brought to conservation for examination. The picture's fascinating history is notable for the changes in attribution and identification, providing a case study in the ways critical opinion can alter over time. What was not realized or sufficiently taken into account in the literature was the degree to which the appearance of the picture was compromised by thick, discolored layers of varnish and an old restoration that attempted make it look more finished than the artist intended. The cleaning of the picture literally revealed a new work of art: a portrait done from life, with parts left only summarily described, painted in a fashion typical of Diego Velázquez (1599–1660), to whom it now may confidently be reattributed.