The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, August 26, 2019


Portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots discovered underneath 16th century painting
The ghostly image of a woman, which shows compelling similarities to other, near-contemporary depictions of the queen, was revealed by X-ray photography during an examination of a portrait of Sir John Maitland, 1st Lord Maitland of Thirlestane, which is attributed to Adrian Vanson (died c.1604-1610).


EDINBURGH.- An unfinished portrait of a woman believed to be Mary, Queen of Scots has been found hidden beneath another 16th-century portrait during a significant research project recently conducted at the National Galleries of Scotland and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

The ghostly image of a woman, which shows compelling similarities to other, near-contemporary depictions of the queen, was revealed by X-ray photography during an examination of a portrait of Sir John Maitland, 1st Lord Maitland of Thirlestane, which is attributed to Adrian Vanson (died c.1604-1610).

The portrait was one of a number of works by the portrait painters Adrian Vanson and Adam de Colone, two Netherlandish artists who worked in Scotland at the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century, to be examined by conservator Dr Caroline Rae, the Courtauld Institute of Art’s Caroline Villers Research Fellow, who recently undertook a collaborative research project in conjunction with NGS. The discovery took place while Dr Rae was examining works from the NGS collection during her research; Vanson’s portrait of Sir John Maitland (1589), the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, is part of the National Trust collection and usually hangs at the Trust’s 17th century historic property Ham House, near London. The results of this collaborative research project, which set out to explore the respective artistic techniques of Vanson and de Colone, are being revealed in a new display which opened at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery this past week.

Dr Rae discovered the concealed portrait while conducting a technical examination using X-radiography (X-ray), a technique that can penetrate through paint layers but which is stopped by pigments containing heavy metals such as lead white (a white pigment that was commonly used throughout Europe at the time). The X-radiograph revealed the presence of lead white depicting a woman’s face and the outline of her dress and hat beneath the upper layers of paint.

Dr Rae was able to trace the outline of a woman, whose appearance indicates she is likely to be Mary, Queen of Scots, based on distinct similarities to other depictions of the controversial queen made during her lifetime, and in particular during her later years. The face of the sitter for instance shows a strong resemblance to two miniatures by the famous English miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), kept in the Royal Collection and the V&A Museum collection. Other clues, like the sitter’s pose with her head tilted to the side and her hand at her waist with her fingers positioned as if holding something, the wired cap and square-necked gown, also accord with other portraits of Mary, including a work hanging at Blair Castle, Perthshire.

Mary Stuart, often called Mary, Queen of Scots was a controversial figure. Forced to abdicate the throne in 1567 due to the suggestion she was implicated in her husband’s murder, then imprisoned by Elizabeth I from 1568, Mary was executed in England in 1587 – two years before the inscribed date on the overlying portrait of Sir John Maitland. Mary’s recent execution may be a reason why her portrait was covered over or abandoned by the artist.

Despite the fascination with which Mary, Queen of Scots was regarded both during her own lifetime and subsequently, there are relatively few authentic portraits of her, and in particular few images from her life in Scotland.

Dr Caroline Rae said: “Technical examination of works of art, in conjunction with art historical and documentary research, forms the pillars of technical art history. Using technical art history, it is possible to illuminate artists’ materials and techniques for the first time in centuries, to discern copies and forgeries and to explore questions of authorship and workshop practice. The discovery of this hidden portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots is an exciting revelation, not only as it adds to our knowledge of 16th century Marian portraiture and patterns of commission at the time, but as it aids in illuminating our understanding of Adrian Vanson, a Netherlandish émigré artist who came to Jacobean Scotland to seek a new life and quickly ascended to the status of Crown painter.”

David Taylor, Curator of Pictures and Sculpture at the National Trust, commented: “Vanson’s portrait of Sir John Maitland is an important picture in the National Trust collection, and the remarkable discovery of the unfinished portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots adds an exciting hidden dimension to it. It shows that portraits of the queen were being copied and presumably displayed in Scotland around the time of her execution, a highly contentious and potentially dangerous thing to be seen doing.”

Christopher Baker, Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, added: “This fascinating discovery has been made thanks to an innovative collaboration undertaken by the National Galleries of Scotland, the Courtauld Institute of Art and the National Trust. The shadowy presence of the Queen beneath a painting of Scotland’s Lord Chancellor could not have been detected without Dr Rae’s technical expertise. The analysis of this intriguing picture forms a key part of a broader project, which we hope will raise awareness of such important research for many visitors to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.”





Today's News

October 31, 2017

Portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots discovered underneath 16th century painting

Exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection focuses on The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris 1892-1897

The greatest work by Britain's leading war artist comes to auction

Phillips to offer landmark Pablo Picasso painting

Major enhancements unveiled on 'Closer To Van Eyck' web application

The Free State of Saxony returns human remains to Hawai'i

Comprehensive survey exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe's work opens in Sydney

Prince show opens in London with Paisley Park treasures

Photographs profiling site of manufacturing innovation on view at the Princeton University Art Museum

Property from the Estate of Mitch Mitchell hits the stage at Julien's Auctions

John Lennon's personal copy of Yesterday And Today "Butcher Cover" may bring $200,000+

Exhibition at Loyola University includes more than 35 works of art by Jim Condron

Major exhibition and film series at MoMA celebrates Post-Punk club

Exhibiton of photographs and collages by Keith Vaughan on view at Austin/Desmond Fine Art

Maxfield Parrish's 'Study for Janion's Maple' highlights Bonhams American Art Sale

Sotheby's announces highlights from its Autumn Sale of Important Watches in Geneva

Victoria and Albert Museum acquires Wilton's Music Hall Archive

Exhibition at S.M.A.K. aims is to gauge the present significance of photography

Classics Dracula, Casablanca headline Heritage Auctions' Movie Posters Auction

Jill Bernstein appointed Board President of the American Friends of the Israel Museum

Scientific illustrations of flora and fauna by the Von Wright brothers on view at the Ateneum Art Museum

MACBA and Han Nefkens Foundation present 'The Maids'

Highlights of the Central Saint Martins' Postgraduate Art Auction announced

Turner Auctions + Appraisals to offer The Patsy Lee Donegan Collection of Asian Antiques

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Newly restored Titian's Rape of Europa set to be reunited with accompanying works

2.- Krannert Art Museum acquires complete works of conceptual gay photographer Hal Fischer

3.- The Met's Rock & Roll exhibition reaches a milestone 500,000 visitors

4.- A new species of giant penguin has been identified from fossils

5.- Fondation Phi pour l'art contemporain exhibits works by pioneering artist Yoko Ono

6.- Comprehensive exhibition of Elfie Semotan's work on view at C/O Berlin

7.- 'Easy Rider' star Peter Fonda dead at 79

8.- Major exhibition explores the romantic fascination with the Scottish Highlands

9.- Meet the Ercolines, the Woodstock lovebirds whose hug made history

10.- Dallas Museum of Art re-opens European Galleries after total reinstallation



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful