François Clouet, Portrait of Diane of France, Daughter of King Henri II, ca. 1555. Oil on panel. Gift of Merle J. and Emily N. Trees 1941-1-1

Clouet was a court painter and portraitist for the French monarchy, and the sitter, Diane of France, was the daughter of King Henry II and his Piedmontese mistress Filippa Duci.

In treating this work, conservator Cynthia Kuniej Berry first stabilized a few small paint losses so that the painting could be cleaned of surface grime and varnish that had yellowed over time. Next, she removed old, discolored retouching that had been added in previous conservation campaigns. The panel was then varnished to isolate the original paint layer, and she then retouched areas where the paint was damaged with conservation-grade paints that can easily be removed in the future.

The careful cleaning and retouching have produced dramatic results, revealing fine details and a brighter, more varied color palette. Previously, the painting had an overall yellowish tone and now the original balance between warm and cool hues has been restored, along with a renewed clarity of the details. Under the old, discolored varnish, Diane of France had looked almost sickly, but now her complexion reveals shades of ivory, blues, and pinks. We encourage you to come admire this masterpiece of Renaissance portraiture.