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Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Noel Nicholas Coypel

Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1724

Oil on Canvas


Purchased with funds given by Dr. William Serri 

Coypel, an 18th century French painter, was often overshadowed in his early career by his successful half-brother, Antoine Coypel, and father, Nöel Coypel. His early work is criticized for a lack of compositional imagination and it was not until Coypel began reworking successful painting by other artists, particularly Antoine, that Nöel-Nicholas achieved significant fame. His most celebrated paintings offer an engaging use of female types, such as Europa, Venus, and the Three Graces. Coypel’s paintings are typically graceful and harmonious, offering well-planned and well-lit compositions with charming subject matter. 

Condition of the Artwork (2009):

The lining is very old and fragile, but still adequately attached to the stretcher. There is a 7 ½”h x 6 ½” w canvas patch on the reverse, along the left edge. The patch was put in place to mend an L-shaped tear, 4” h x 4 ½”w. The tear is no longer being held flat by the patch, it curls forward. The painting is slightly separating from the lining at the edges. The paint layer has fine, small to medium scale, slightly cupped age cracking overall. Abrasions from previous cleaning are apparent in many areas; the hands of Mary are notably abraded.

Ultra violet light reveals many small strokes of inpainting around Joseph’s legs and brown cloak. Inpainting dots in the Christ child are not very well done. Other spots of inpainting are apparent; some inpainting may be masked by the very heavy and uneven glow of the varnish coatings. Multiple layers of natural resin coat the paint surface, and have turned brown. The varnish has an extremely heavy and uneven, spotty, green glow when viewed under ultra violet light. 

Conservation Treatment Proposed:

  • Remove the lined canvas from the stretcher. Remove the patch from the reverse. Remove the lining from the reverse. Reduce glue deposits on the reverse manually. Humidify the painting.
  • Reduce distortions around the tear by placing the painting face up, under vacuum pressure on the hot table.
  • Mend the tear form the reverse with a conservation quality adhesive.
  • Remove/reduce the varnish layers with appropriate cleaning agents.
  • Remove/reduce the old repaints/inpaints with appropriate cleaning agents.
  • Apply an isolating, conservation quality varnish overall.
  • Line the painting to a new layer of canvas while face up, under vacuum pressure, on the hot table. If necessary to keep the tear in plane, line the lined painting to a polymer infused, semi-rigid fabric with a conservation quality adhesive, face up on the hot table, under vacuum pressure. Remount the painting on the existing stretcher.
  • Fill and inpaint paint losses and extensive abrasions with conservation quality materials.
  • Apply a final layer of a conservation quality finishing varnish.
  • All materials used will be appropriate and conservation quality. All work will adhere to the highest standards of the field.

Estimated Cost of Treatment: $6,000.00