Sunday, March 19, 2017

Madrid - Belle of the Arts - restoring some of it / Madrid - Die Schöne der Künste - etwas davon restauriert

Madrid is a lovely place, especially after a long winter in Northern Europe. It is a delight to revel in the bright sun and walk the streets lined with beautiful, ornamental buildings.

Some more beauty can be seen inside, especially with the plethora of different museums, and those dedicated for the Arts: Thysssen-Bornemisza, Prado, Reina Sofia (modern art) are the largest ones. Entry prices are very appropriate and you can buy a combo ticket for all three together.

For a photograper a nicety is that, except for the Prado, you are allowed to photograph.
Coming home, the challenge starts to correct for the lighting used in the museums. But then, while you are at it, why not restore the pictures to what they may looked have like during the painter's time?

Those pictures have deteroriated through dirt, uneven degradation of colors and improper light temperatures. So what we see as real is not as it used to be even though some take it for granted. As soon as those pictures are digitized, the world world of color processing is at one's fingertips, so it is much easier doing changes than actually restoring the original canvas itself.

I took the liberty to do so for a set of those works of arts, based on common wisdom, customs at that time and some knowledge which colors deterioriated most. Some of those pictures were taken by me with the camera, some from Wikipedia/-media for comparison, some supplied by the museums online or through Google Earth Art Project.

I share those comparisons here for those also loving classic masterpieces. Resolution is limited to stay within fair-use limits.
Madrid ist ein schöner Ort, besonders nach einem langen Winter in Nordeuropa. Es ist ein Vergnügen in der strahlenden Sonne sich zu allen und durch die Strassen zu laufen mit schönen, verzierten Gebäuden.

Noch mehr Schönes gibt es innen, besonders mit der Vielzahl an unterschiedlichen Museen, und denen für die Künste: Thysssen-Bornemisza, Prado, Reina Sofia sind ei Größten. EIntrittspreise sind vernünftig und es gibt die Möglichkeit eines günstigen Sammeltickets für alle drei.

Für einen Fotografen ist es schön dass man, mit Ausnahme des Prado, in allen fotografieren darf.
Wieder zuhause, geht die Arbeit los wenn man die Beleuchtung des Museums kompensieren will beim Entwickeln. Aber wnn man schon einmal dabei ist, warum dann nicht gleich die Bilder so restaurieren wie sie vermutlich zu Lebzeiten des Malers aussahen?

Ich habe mir mal erlaubt dass für einige Kunstwerke zu tun, basierend auf gesundem Menschenverstand, den damaligen Sitten und etwas Wissen welche Farben gealtert sind. Einige der Bilder wurden von mir fotografiert, einige sind von Wikipedia/-media, einige von den Online-Seiten der Museen oder durch das Google Art-Projekt.

Ich teile diese Vergleiche hier für all diejenigen welche auch die Klassik-Meisterwerke lieben. Die Auflösung ist begrenzt um innerhalb der Nutzungserlaubnis zu bleiben.

Giovanna Tornabuoni by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1488, Thyssen Bornemisza
I love this painting, especially the tragic story behind. Thank God that childbirth is nowadays no longer the merciless killer it used to be. Ideal skin at that time was white, not the greenish tint the painting nowadays has. Also, the dress used splendid colors. Also ideal was blod hair. Paper color matched to white. The cabinet is not grey either.
Millicent Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland, John Singer Sargent, 1904, Thyssen Bornemisza
Another self-concious woman that strikes you when looking. On one hand a society lady, on the other hand a social reformer, this combination breaks the mold of our conventions. Situated in the shadow of a summer afternoon, the sun breaking through only partly through the leaves, the pale white skin contrasts wonderfully to the exquisite dress. Selective editing of the dress, background, hair and lips done.

Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan by Diego de Velázquez, 1629, Prado
 I love Velazquez. He shatters the pomposity of so many other painters, be it kings or gods as subject. All treated equally, he shows them as they are. Just look at the dumbfound look of the man on the right. Unfortunately, the paint used has gotten worse very much. Laurel restored to green, corrected color of Apollos sandal, toga, hair, skin, the cloths of the mens, the red-hot metal, fire and sparks, the landscape in the background.

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, 1656, Prado
 Another Velazquez, Las Meninas. Unconventionally, the most important peoples are relegated to the mirror at the end of the room, in front is a dog, kids and the dwarf.Also, the artist put himself into the picture. I only recently discovered that the strange-looking girl on the right is not another maid, but rather the court-dwarf. For that, looks are actually ok. Corrected brightness, greenish cast, hair color of maid, infanta and dog, mirror contrast.


  1. Excellent work, it make the pictures look like they were painted last week. Thanks for the tips on post processing!


  2. Thanks snapa, glad you like it!