One of the University’s largest paintings, ‘The Four Corners of the World’ is currently being restored and cleaned. The painting with a canvas of around 210 x 345 cm in dimension unframed, is an 18th century copy of a Rubens painting, ‘The Four Continents’, the original being painted in 1615.
The painting has already been taken out of its framed and glued, using a special removable glue, onto a strong new canvas which will enable it to be re-stretched on its frame. Cleaning of the artwork is now underway and then decisions will be made about what areas of the painting might need to be re-touched before it is then varnished.
The restorers have discovered that the frame is very special in that it is hand-carved, rather than being decorated with a cast plaster design. It is probable that the frame was originally made for another painting, as there is evidence that the painting’s canvas has been enlarged to fit it.
It is hoped that the cleaned and restored painting will be re-hung in the University in early July 2015.
Click here to see an image of the original Rubens ‘The Four Continents’ by Rubens, on which this painting is based. It represents the four continents of Europe, Asia, America and Africa – Australia had not yet been discovered in 1615.