The Poussin Project

The year in the life of conservation

Welcome to the online conservation treatment diary for Nicolas Poussin’s Crossing of the Red Sea. Over the course of this year-long treatment we will be presenting a series of informal updates designed to keep the public informed about the restoration of one of the NGV’s most prized paintings.

  • Fd103342
Nicolas POUSSIN
The Crossing of the Red Sea (1632-1634)
oil on canvas
155.6 x 215.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1948
1843-4

Fourteen months in 70 seconds

Witness the transformation of Poussin’s Crossing of the Red Sea in this slideshow chronicling the various stages of conservation treatment: the removal of old varnish and restorations, the application of a new varnish, and the gradual process of inpainting the lost and worn passages of paint.  If you look closely you will notice the changes first in the lower half of the painting, then up through the mountains and landscape, and finally throughout the sky.

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The Poussin Project


Carl Villis – Conservator of European paintings before 1800Author of The Poussin Project Blog.

Carl Villis has been a conservator of European Old Master paintings at the NGV since 1995. Alongside his primary focus on the restoration process, he likes to participate in interdisciplinary studies involving the technical and scientific analysis of paintings with traditional art history research to resolving unanswered questions about works of art.