Conservators Titania Hess and Laura Guilluy take you behind the scenes of the Phoebus conservation studio!

Jacob Jordaens, Christ Triumphant Among the Nine Penitents (before restoration), c.1635-40
After cleaning and removal of the varnish

Christ Triumphiant, by Jacob Jordaens, has undergone a full restoration treatment! As the painting was relined during a previous treatment, the canvas was in excellent condition. Therefore, the treatment consisted mainly of the removal of oxidized varnish and encrusted soil. With gentle solvents and aqueous gels, we managed to reveal the original paint layer and its astounding palette. A few retouches and two layers of varnish were the final operations to our conservation treatment.’

Ma-XRF scan
Designation of main zones with modified compositions

‘Prior to this treatment, the painting was subject to an intensive research, realised by Phoebus head conservator Sven Van Dorst. Using technical analysis such as Ma-XRF scans, various changes in the composition were discovered probably due to changes in the sizes of the canvas.

It turned out Jordaens painted a first composition on a less wide canvas! After a time, the Antwerp master enlarged the painting so he could realize the final composition. This enlarging of the canvas has already been observed in other paintings attributed to Jordaens, which are part of The Phoebus Foundation collection. The observation of these paintings was crucial in understanding the technics of the Antwerp great master.’

After restoration