Meisje met pauwenveer Jacob Maris, more detailed info here
As a young man I loved to dream about restoring an old chapel or a Dome. Just scratching and restoring bit by a bit until the larger part would become visible and fresh looking. Just working at it for years is what I found appealing.
Now years and years later with photo editing software like Photoshop, it made it possible for me to re edit and digitally restore old paintings of the Old Masters.
A refreshed way
Removing the craquelure, lifting the colors, repairing damages.
Of course when seeing the painting in real this has great charm, but wouldn’t it be fantastic to see it in a refreshed way, and maybe,… just maybe see it more the way the Old Masters had it in mind?
With uplifting the colors it will be a guess of course. It’s like a piece of written music which can be played and interpreted in many different ways. With great respect I tried to enhance the images in a way they got back their brilliance they once must have had.
Italian landscape with Pin Parasol trees by H. Voogd fecit Roma 1807. More detailed info here
Remastered version, purchase print
Voogd was known as the Dutch Claude, after the French painter Claude Lorrain, who was famous for his historical landscapes bathed in a golden glow. Voogd depicted the garden at Villa Borghese in Rome late in the afternoon: the sun casts long shadows and the trees stand out starkly against the sky. People are promenading, enjoying the wonderful sunset. In the foreground, an artist sits, leaning against a tree, sketching.
I slowly made progress, bit by bit
The most famous paintings have been restored in the best possible way, but that costs a fortune. For the less known paintings, but in my view very good looking images, there is unfortunately no budget. With this in mind I thought I could do a little justice to these paintings by restoring them in a digital way.
As with real restoring of a painting, this took a lot of time as well. Many days, actually nights, I spend working on these paintings. With music on my head, red wine in my glass I slowly made progress, bit by bit.
To get to the end result is almost like ending a book or movie, satisfied though slightly disappointed at the same time.
Landscape, Julien Joseph Ducorron, 1800 - 1837, more detailed information here
Remastered version. Purchase print
Working so close to the subject, I zoomed in 100 to 400 %, also reveals details one does easily overlook the first time looking at it. As we can see here the painter, deliberately or not, didn’t paint the reflection of the woman standing in the door. And I’ll bet you see other flaws.
I very much enjoyed little discoveries like this and also felt more connected to the painter himself. Almost went back in time. Seeing a masterpiece in a museum is a wonderful experience and working on these images is another one.
Both in editing and restoring I used my own style and interpretation, however always with the utmost respect for the artist in mind. It is in no way my intention to say the digital restored images will look as the painter meant them.
Because sometimes the damages are too severe creative solutions had to be used.
More remastered works in the next post.
The images I have selected for digital restoration are all public domain