The French artist Charles-Antoine Coypel painted this scene of amour figures forging arrows for Cupid’s bow around 1715. It remains in nearly pristine condition, but the varnish layers, which were not original, had become darkened and discolored. The canvas has never been removed from its original eighteenth-century wooden strainer. The depth and richness of Coypel’s palette emerged after removal of the old varnish layers. A few minor flake losses – seen here as white areas that have been filled with gesso in order to bring the level of the loss in line with the surface of the original paint – are visible around the edges.
Caravaggio was not always a ‘trendy’ artist. Before museums dedicated exhibitions solely to him, before monographs were written by art historians, indeed before a bestselling non-fiction art-crime book was published about his lost painting, Caravaggio was reluctantly accepted by collectors in the US as an artist primarily associated with genre painting, and nothing much more. (Genre painting is the depiction of every day life).