Restoration in Public View Rueland Frueauf the Elder

Over two years visitors had the chance to experience the biggest public restoration project in the Belvedere’s history and experience on site how a masterpiece is being examined, conserved, restored, and scientifically analyzed.

It was around 1490 and probably for the Cathedral or Saint Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg that Rueland Frueauf the Elder (1440/45–1507) created a winged altar, eight panels of which are now preserved in the Belvedere’s collection of medieval art. These outstanding works of late Gothic art are now being restored for the first major Rueland Frueauf exhibition to be held at the Lower Belvedere in autumn 2015. The paintings, which are more than 500 years old, show various types of damage, ranging from crack formations to soiled paint surfaces, as well dislodged paint layers, blistering, aged filling, darkened repainting, and heavily yellowed varnish. Besides securing and recovering the stability of the pictures, the team undertakes the task of sensitively restoring the approximate original aesthetic impact of the works in a comprehensive process. It will presumably take our experts more than two years to complete this project.

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