What’s Under the Varnish?

Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven

Mark 10:21
Wisdom 7:7-11; Psalm 90:12-17; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30

In 2019, a famous portrait of 18th-century French chemist Antoine Lavoisier and his wife, Marie Anne, was sent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s conservation lab. The job at hand was the removal of varnish to restore the vibrancy of the great work. However, during the process, the conservation specialists discovered a hidden sketch under the painting.

Since its creation in 1788, the painting as known to the art world depicts the Lavoisiers as humble leaders of a scientific revolution. In the picture, Marie Anne leans over her husband, who is hard at work at his table of specialized instruments.

But after months of analysis using infrared imaging and other state-of-the-art techniques, the experts discovered that the original painting…

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