When the painting arrived at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1959, the original canvas was severely distorted, and the paint had lifted sharply along all of the drying cracks.
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).
The Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire, is actually North America’s oldest museum in continuous operation. Dating back to 1772, it is owned and operated by Dartmouth College, and was founded just 3 years after the college itself. With nearly 65,000 objects in its permanent collection, this small museum boasts quite an impressive range of art. There’s a bit of everything, from Ancient Near Eastern reliefs, to American landscapes, to European paintings, and even some home furnishings.