After cleaning, before retouching
by Jan Miense Molenaer, oil on canvas, ca. 1631, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem. Treatment: 24/01/2013 - 16/05/2013
The painting depicts a Frisian game of handball called kaatsen. Well-dressed spectators watch the game, and some fight about the outcome in the background.
The treatment involved varnish and overpaint removal, technical examination, and also a major retouching project. A woman in the bottom left had been scraped away as part of a previous restoration treatment, probably when the painting was made smaller along the left side. Only fragments of paint remained in this area. Abbie Vandivere conducted extensive research into how this area of the composition may originally have appeared, and presented different options for reconstructing (or leaving visible) the damaged area. Ultimately, the missing figure was reconstructed using a mimetic retouching technique. A Powerpoint presentation in the museum accompanies the painting to explain the conservation treatment to the general public.
Photographs © From the Ground Up, Frans Hals Museum. Treatment was begun by Jessica Roeders.