Britain’s National Trust was donated a painting that was so dark and in need of restoration that no one knew that it was a Tintoretto until £36,000 was spent cleaning and restoring it. Now that they know it’s a Tintoretto, maybe they’ll be able to figure out what’s going on in the picture. The Telegraph explains that’s not obvious:
Experts are still baffled by the meaning of the painting – originally dubbed Apollo and the Muses – and the identities of several of the depicted figures.
Now the National Trust is appealing to the public to help uncover its origins.
“We have more questions than answers at the moment,” said Rob Gray, House and Collections manager at Kingston Lacy. We are still in the process of trying to ascertain what the painting is about.”
It will go on display at Kingston Lacy, a 17th century mansion in Dorset, from today (Wed).
The painting was cited as a work by Tintoretto when the estate and its contents were left to the National Trust by Henry John Ralph Bankes in 1981 but its flaking paint and darkened varnish led some scholars to doubt that it was the work of the artist.
But work to remove discoloured varnish, as well as X-rays and infrared analysis as part of the restoration by the Hamilton Kerr Institute in Cambridge, has helped to identify the style and brush strokes of Tintoretto.
Mysterious Tintoretto Discovered After Languishing in National Trust Estate (Telegraph)