Changes in appearance: unintentional lightening in stable interiors by philips Wouwerman (1619-1668)
The pendant paintings Arrival at thestable (MH 214) and Departure from the stable (MH 215) by Philips Wouwerman, in the collection ofthe Mauritshuis in The Hague, are part of a group of so-called stable interiors (figs. 1-2). From 1655 onwards, Wouwerman produced about 50 different compositions of stable interiors. These are the stables of the gentry; the scenes depict horses being prepared for, or dismantled after a tide. The scenes are very lively and typically include gentry, their servants, children and small animals. Wouwerman strived to make his stable interiors realistic and convincing through his use oflight and colour. Unfortunately, the spatial depth in the recently treated pendant paintings in the Mauritshuis is distorted due to lightening, or blanching of specific areas. Along the wood gain, the paint layers have degraded turning grey or whitish. In addition, the dark, almost black interiors ofthe stables in both paintings are clouded by an irregular whitish haze that sits on the upper paint layer. The factors that have led to these changes were examined to make the current appearance of the pictures more understandable.
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Verhave, J, van Loon, A, & Noble, P. (2007). Changes in appearance: unintentional lightening in stable interiors by philips Wouwerman (1619-1668). ArtMatters, 4, 103–110.