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Final Touches

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Warren Bennett, Associate Conservation Preparator

The last work installed for the New European Paintings Galleries the afternoon before the opening was the famous birth salver created in 1449 for Lorenzo de' Medici (known to later generations simply as Lorenzo the Magnificent). It's in Gallery 604. To make the final meticulous retouching of the mount, the installer, Warren Bennett, had to insert his head into the case, beneath the birth tray. I was struck by the very Neapolitan baroque quality of the image of his head—as though detached, John-the-Baptist fashion, by the "blade" of the salver! I couldn't help but snap a picture. Just look at the spot of light on the cranium: pure Mattia Preti!

Department(s): European Paintings

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About the Author

Keith Christiansen is the John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of the Department of European Paintings.

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