Conservation of Bosch in Venice

An important objective of the Bosch Research and Conservation Project is to assist museums actively in the preservation of Bosch’s heritage. The two triptychs in Venice, St. Uncumber and The Hermit Saints, are in urgent need of restoration. In the nineteenth century, cradles were applied to the backs of the wood panels to stabilize and reinforce them, but these additions hamper the natural movements of the wood. In a delicate operation, both triptychs will be treated to give the panels room to “breathe” again. These treatments will take place under supervision of the Soprintendenza di Venezia. The Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch has received a grant from the Panel Paintings Initiative of The Getty Foundation to support this treatment. In a collaborative effort of Italian and Dutch conservators, supported by the BRCP, the paint layer of each triptych will also be cleaned and conserved. This will lead to two fully restored important ensembles from the core group of Bosch paintings.

It is little known that three of the four Visions of the Hereafter, now preserved in the Palazzo Grimani, have an original marbling on their reverses. The restoration of these marblings will enable their exhibition so the audience can appreciate these works more fully. The picture surfaces of the four Visions were conserved during an earlier restoration in the 1990s.

Below you will find a collection of images of the reverses of the Bosch paintings in Venice.


Reverse Sides

Triptych of St. Uncumber

Hermit Saints Triptych

Four Visions of the Hereafter
Fall of the Damned, reverse
Hell, reverse
Earthly Paradise, reverse
Ascent into Heaven, reverse