Monday, September 30, 2013

This week the Museum staff is saying goodbye to one of our favorite and most successful exhibitions. The Golden Age of Painting in Europe, which was loaned to us by Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, drew over 6000 visitors this summer. The reviews were spectacular; proving to us that Lexington has a vibrant and appreciative art audience. Thank you to all who supported this exhibition.

Most people probably have no idea how much physical labor is involved in installing and de-installing an exhibition of this size. The Museum staff has been reminded of that effort this past week. Each of these 72 masterpieces travels with its own custom designed crate. Before packing can begin each painting has to be inspected with a magnifying glass by both our registrar and the Speed’s registrar to determine whether any damage has occurred during exhibition. As you can see from this photograph, large paintings, like this portrait by Pierre Mignard, require a team of gloved handlers, led by our preparator, Alan Rideout (in the green shirt), and registrar, Bebe Lovejoy (in orange) to safely deliver it to its crate.

While I was photographing this delivery, I was impressed by the amount of calculation and discussion that went into how the crate had to be situated so that the bolts would fit around the frame and where workers would stand to insure that the transition would go smoothly. The entire operation took almost 30 minutes; one painting down and 71 to go. But it’s this kind of care and attention to detail that insures that this painting from 1688 will last another 325 years!

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