Portrait of a Marshal of France, probably Francois-Henri de Montmorency-Bouteville, Duke of Luxembourg (1628-1695), after 1688
Pierre Mignard I (French, 1612-1695)
Oil on canvas
Preston Pope Satterwhite Collection, by exchange 1958.8.2

How much will it cost? $10,000


Our Marshal has survived centuries; let’s make sure he’s able to stick around with us a lot longer. This treatment will be a major undertaking, but it’s one that’s long overdue. The sheer size of this large canvas means that restoration will be a time-consuming process.

This canvas needs to get into the laboratory and under a microscope to determine how best to proceed. There is extremely poor color saturation throughout, rendering darker passages unreadable. His rather fabulous head of hair has completely sunken and merged into the landscape beyond. There is major, extensive retouching throughout the entire canvas. These are probably very old, and have discolored over the decades, resulting in conspicuous splotches in the darker areas. Testing has revealed that the varnish and old areas of retouched paint are soluble, which is good news—it means that the old varnish hasn’t crosslinked to the original paint layer. The conservator will carefully remove all the varnish and old areas of retouching. They’ll then inpaint and tone all areas of loss in a completely reversible process. A coat of stable varnish will be applied, which will brighten the colors and add depth to the painting.