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15 Jan 11

The Poussin Project

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.

  1. Table of Contents
  2. An introduction to the project
  3. Map of treatment
  4. Getting Started
  5. Pentimenti
  6. Some changes in the painting
  7. Exodus 14
  8. X-raying the Poussin
  9. A strategy for cleaning
  10. The revelations of UV photography
  11. Previous restorations
  12. Crossing the Red Sea—literally!
  13. Removal of varnish and old retouchings
  14. Using copies to learn about lost information
  15. The rediscovery of a “lost” replica
  16. The mystery figure in the NGV Crossing of the Red Sea
  17. Fourteen months in seconds

Written by:


Carl Villis – Conservator of European paintings before 1800
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.