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Restoration of Nicolas Tournier’s Lute Player

Before restoration
After restoration
Nicola Tournier (1590 – after 1657). Lute Player. Italy. Oil on canvas. 105 × 77 cm

This work came into the Hermitage in 1925 from the collection of the Counts Shuvalov. It was previously in the Villeminot collection in Paris.

 Description of the state of preservation before restoration:

The painting was covered by a thick layer of late yellowed varnishes and darkened overpainting of various dates. A cloudy, in places even white, film of old varnish was distorting the artist’s original.

The following work was carried out:

  • photographic documentation at all stages of the restoration process
  • preparation of restoration documentation
  • physical and chemical examination of the structure of the work prior to restoration
  • refining a strategy for reducing the thickness of the late yellowed destructive varnish on test areas
  • refining a strategy for the removal of old distorting overpainting on test areas
  • using the strategies developed to reduce and even out the thick layer of old varnish across the entire surface
  • removal of areas of old overpainting that have altered in colour and tone
  • application of restoration primer in places where the artist’s original painting has been lost
  • restoration of the transparency of the layer of old varnish
  • coating the picture with restoration varnish
  • making good the losses to the artist’s original painting

 A working group of members of the State Hermitage staff had been formed for the restoration of the painting:

scholarly supervisor – Tatiana Bushmina, senior researcher in the Department of Western European Fine Art

co-ordinator – Yekaterina Sirakanian, head of the Development Service

curator – Victor Korobov, head of the Laboratory for the Scientific Restoration of Easel Paintings

artist-restorer - Pavel Davydov, from the staff of the Laboratory for the Scientific Restoration of Easel Paintings


The project was realized with the support of DELIA, Ltd.