September 21, 1999
Conservators use a reversible adhesive to apply a protective layer of tissue to the surface of the painting. This will protect the painting's face when conservators lay it on the floor face-down.
September 19, 1999
The painting is laid face-down onto a protective sheet of mylar. Once on the floor, the stretcher can be removed safely from the painting.
Behind It All
The stretcher is removed from the painting. Conservators discover three distinct layers of protective lining under the original canvas.
The linings, which have been added during previous restorations, are removed.
September 22, 1999
Down to the Canvas
One layer of lining remains. When this layer is pulled away, the original canvas is exposed. Conservators believe this lining layer is significantly older than the previous two layers.
Removing this layer is difficult and very delicate work.
The back of the original canvas more closely resembles coarse sandpaper than delicate fiber.
The final lining layer is removed, exposing the back of the original canvas.
The conservators use a coarse brush or scalpel to very carefully remove dried adhesive from the back of the painting.