Printer Friendly Version

The Gamblers

Here we see The Gamblers before the extensive cleaning. Can you see the added strips of canvas on the sides of the painting? Notice that the color of the sky changed drastically after the cleaning.

Part of the conservation procedure involved taking full X-rays of the painting.

Take a closer look at the strips of canvas that were added at an unknown date. It is believed this was done to fit the painting into a specific frame.

key idea
Cleaning up The Gamblers

Did you know that paintings, just like pets, cars, and clothes, need to be cleaned from time to time? Cleaning a painting is a very delicate procedure. Time, expertise, and research are required to prevent any damage to the art during the process. A conservator, a person specially trained to care for art, does this work.

Ter Brugghen’s The Gamblers recently spent some time at the Getty Conservation Center in Los Angeles, California. While at the Getty, the painting received an extensive makeover. X-ray images of the painting showed several areas that needed special attention. Two strips of canvas had been added to the sides of the original painting, probably to make it fit within a specific frame. Conservators removed these strips so the painting was returned to its intended size.

The Gamblers received a thorough cleaning. Layers of overpaint and discolored varnish were removed from the painting. Eventually, the richness of the original colors and shading were revealed.

This comparison shows how the colors and shading changed with the cleaning. The top is the before the cleaning, the bottom is after.
May 2008