Sunday, October 10, 2021

Vermeer Restoration Reveals Hidden Cupid

A Vermeer painting has restored to reveal a hidden painting within a painting. 

Cupid was painted over by another hand after Vermeer's death. Restorers revealed the underlayer in stages, and exhibited the painting half-restored to share the process with the public.

According to Smithsonian, "A recent bout of laboratory testing confirmed that a long-hidden Cupid found in the top right-hand corner of the canvas was painted over not by the Dutch Golden Age artist, but an unknown party who acted decades after Vermeer’s death."

The presence of Cupid adds meaning to the image, suggesting the letter may address matters of love.


arenhaus said...

Not really sure it's an improvement. :)

MerylAnnB said...

Wow, amazing! I love this... it sure changes the composition for the better, now that nice light shape in the upper left points directly toward the figure...and the green curtain at the right makes much more sense now with its light areas against the darkness of the cupid painting, and that lovely light shape to the right of the figure's back seems to embrace her now.... omg it is so much more Vermeer! I wonder why someone would paint over it...a nudity issue?

MacDieter said...

Arenhaus, you sound like my wife! When we moved to our new appartement, she decided to prefer white walls over hanging my drawings like we had in the old appartement! I admit I am no Vermeer, much less a Gurney, but my works aren´t cellar bad, either.

Luca said...

The problem is that neither the wall nor the Cupid are actually painted by Vermeer. Given that the Cupid was in the original project, are we sure Vermeer didn't change his mind and decided that he preferred the painting without him? They should remove the Cupid too to see what Vermeer actually painted with his hands - and this is the only things that matter, what he painted , not what he wanted to paint in theory. If someone found a letter of Leonardo that said that the Mona Lisa should have a , dunno, little monkey resting on his arms, should we add a little monkey on her because that was the original project? It's a bit extreme as an example but what i mean is that to me "The" version of a painting is what was on a canvas after the last brush stroke of the painter, not else.

Besides this I find that the void of the wall adds intensity and melancholy to the girl, but this is jut my subjective feeling. With the Cupid i find it very "stuffed" with things, without him the scene seems more ethereal and suspended in time, to me. I honestly don't like the version with the Cupid and i wouldn't be surprised if they will discover some day that Vermeer changed his idea about adding him.

Amon said...

Cupid's eyes draw my attention the second after girl's face, so it's certainly a more energetic composition compared with the original, for better or worse.
I think i prefer the original more interpretative "love story" that could be anything, blooming, secret, enduring in hardships, ending, anything.