Take a look behind the paint layers of Jordaens’ The Sleeping Antiope
Especially for At home with Jordaens, various works by Jacob Jordaens underwent an extensive conservation treatment. Conservators Jill and Ellen Keppens take you behind the paint layers of The Sleeping Antiope Approached by Jupiter (1660).
‘This painting reminded us of an old acquaintance! A few years ago, we restored a nearly identical sleeping beauty by Jordaens: Psyche. This time, it’s Antiope, accompanied by Jupiter who, disguised as a satyr, removes the cloth from her body.’
‘Jordaens and his contempories fancied erotic themes like this and especially the contrast between Antiope’s porcelain naked skin and Jupiter’s ugliness. This contradiction, however, became completely covered by a thick layer of varnish. When the varnish and the old retouches were removed, not only the beautiful colours but also Jordaens’ sketchy technique came to light again. The eagle’s wings are painted with a few quick brushstrokes of diluted brown paint, under which the grey colour of the ground layer shines through. In the feathers, Jordaens also applied a few thick, bright blue strokes.’
‘These sketchy areas and the rather limited format cast doubt on the purpose of this painting. Was it a finished work of art? Part of an elaborate preliminary study? Or did it serve as an example for a client? Whatever the case, The Sleeping Antiope is currently back at home with Jordaens at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem!’