Museums and conservators are doing the best they possibly can to either restore or maintain art pieces that sometimes are valuable beyond words. Sadly, time touches everything and even masterpieces are usually attacked by bugs, lost in storages, burned or even looted by enemies. Unfortunately, for these very reasons, certain masterpieces were lost, and this is the reason why we must do everything to protect the ones we still have. This is what digital production company Factum Arte is now trying to do through a seven-part series called Mystery of the Lost Paintings, now airing on Sky Arts.
The artists and technicians working on these masterpieces are using digital forensics in order to recreate seven valuable art pieces that were damaged during the 20th century. Among those are Johannes Vermeer’s The Concert, stolen from a museum in 1990, Vincent van Gogh’s Six Sunflowers, damaged in a raid near Osaka, Japan, during World War II, and one of Monet’s water lilies, almost destroyed in a fire back in 1958. It’s interesting that each individual art piece required a different set of investigations by the team.
Art masterpieces restored using digital forensics
For example, in order to perfectly reconstruct van Gogh’s painting, the team scanned an existing sunflower painting. The idea was to gather details about the strokes that the artist used and the speed he painted with. For the Vermeer painting, the team used some scans from high-quality art books which the team then enlarged and printed. The next step was to paint over the prints to make sure that they captured the details perfectly.
Other such masterpieces included the allegorical painting belonging to Gustav Klimt called Medicine. The 1928 Tamara de Lempicka painting called Myrto, which depicts two naked women, was also among the pieces meant for restauration. The last piece that the team worked on was the famous 1954 portrait of Winston Churchill by Graham Sutherland. The piece was burned at the order of Churchill’s wife who didn’t like it. Thankfully, the Factum Arte team managed to restore this one to its former glory too.
Image source: flickr