A Determined Art Conservator Restores a Painting of the Doomed Party Girl Isabella de’ Medici: See the Before and After

Some peo­ple talk to plants.

The Carnegie Muse­um of Art’s chief con­ser­va­tor Ellen Bax­ter talks to the paint­ings she’s restor­ing.

“You have to …tell her she’s going to look love­ly,” she says, above, spread­ing var­nish over a 16th-cen­tu­ry por­trait of Isabel­la de’ Medici pri­or to start­ing the labo­ri­ous process of restor­ing years of wear and tear by inpaint­ing with tiny brush­es, aid­ed with pipettes of var­nish and sol­vent.

Isabel­la had been wait­ing a long time for such ten­der atten­tion, con­cealed beneath a 19th-cen­tu­ry over­paint­ing depict­ing a dain­tier fea­tured woman reput­ed to be Eleanor of Tole­do, wife of Cosi­mo I de’ Medici, the sec­ond Duke of Flo­rence.

Louise Lip­pin­cott, the CMA’s for­mer cura­tor of fine arts, ran across the work in the museum’s base­ment stor­age. Record named the artist as Bronzi­no, court painter to Cosi­mo I, but Lip­pin­cott, who thought the paint­ing “awful”, brought it to Ellen Bax­ter for a sec­ond opin­ion.

As Cristi­na Rou­valis writes in Carnegie Mag­a­zine, Bax­ter is a “rare mix of left- and right-brained tal­ent”, a painter with a bachelor’s degree in art his­to­ry, minors in chem­istry and physics, and a master’s degree in art con­ser­va­tion:

(She) looks at paint­ings dif­fer­ent­ly than oth­er peo­ple, too—not as flat, sta­t­ic objects, but as three-dimen­sion­al com­po­si­tions lay­ered like lasagna.

The minute she saw the oil paint­ing pur­port­ed to be of Eleanor of Tole­do… Bax­ter knew some­thing wasn’t quite right. The face was too bland­ly pret­ty, “like a Vic­to­ri­an cook­ie tin box lid,” she says. Upon exam­in­ing the back of the paint­ing, she identified—thanks to a trusty Google search—the stamp of Fran­cis Leed­ham, who worked at the Nation­al Por­trait Gallery in Lon­don in the mid-1800s as a “relin­er,” trans­fer­ring paint­ings from a wood pan­el to can­vas mount. The painstak­ing process involves scrap­ing and sand­ing away the pan­el from back to front and then glu­ing the paint­ed sur­face lay­er to a new can­vas.

An X‑Ray con­firmed her hunch, reveal­ing extra lay­ers of paint in this “lasagna”.

Care­ful strip­ping of dirty var­nish and Vic­to­ri­an paint in the areas of the por­trait’s face and hands began to reveal the much stronger fea­tures of the woman who posed for the artist. (The Carnegie is bank­ing on Bronzino’s stu­dent, Alessan­dro Allori, or some­one in his cir­cle.)

Lip­pin­cott was also busi­ly sleuthing, find­ing a Medici-com­mis­sioned copy of the paint­ing in Vien­na that matched the dress and hair exact­ly. Thus­ly did she learn that the sub­ject was Eleanor of Toledo’s daugh­ter, Isabel­la de’ Medici, the apple of her father’s eye and a noto­ri­ous, ulti­mate­ly ill-fat­ed par­ty girl. 

The His­to­ry Blog paints an irre­sistible por­trait of this mav­er­ick princess:

Cosi­mo gave her an excep­tion­al amount of free­dom for a noble­woman of her time. She ran her own house­hold, and after Eleanor’s death in 1562, Isabel­la ran her father’s too. She threw famous­ly rau­cous par­ties and spent lav­ish­ly. Her father always cov­ered her debts and pro­tect­ed her from scruti­ny even as rumors of her lovers and excess­es that would have doomed oth­er soci­ety women spread far and wide. Her favorite lover was said to be Troi­lo Orsi­ni, her hus­band Paolo’s cousin.

Things went down­hill fast for Isabel­la after her father’s death in 1574. Her broth­er Francesco was now the Grand Duke, and he had no inter­est in indulging his sister’s pec­ca­dil­loes. We don’t know what hap­pened exact­ly, but in 1576 Isabel­la died at the Medici Vil­la of Cer­re­to Gui­di near Empoli. The offi­cial sto­ry released by Francesco was that his 34-year-old sis­ter dropped dead sud­den­ly while wash­ing her hair. The unof­fi­cial sto­ry is that she was stran­gled by her hus­band out of revenge for her adul­tery and/or to clear the way for him to mar­ry his own mis­tress Vit­to­ria Acco­ram­boni.

Bax­ter not­ed that the urn Isabel­la holds was not part of the paint­ing to begin with, though nei­ther was it one of Leedham’s revi­sions. Its resem­blance to the urn that Mary Mag­da­lene is often depict­ed using as she annoints Jesus’ feet led her and Lip­pin­cott to spec­u­late that it was added at Isabella’s request, in an attempt to redeem her image.

“This is lit­er­al­ly the bad girl see­ing the light,” Lip­pin­cott told Rou­valis.

Despite her fond­ness for the sub­ject of the lib­er­at­ed paint­ing, and her con­sid­er­able skill as an artist, Bax­ter resist­ed the temp­ta­tion to embell­ish beyond what she found:

I’m not the artist. I’m the con­ser­va­tor. It’s my job to repair dam­ages and loss­es, to not put myself in the paint­ing.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

The Art of Restor­ing a 400-Year-Old Paint­ing: A Five-Minute Primer

Watch a 17th-Cen­tu­ry Por­trait Mag­i­cal­ly Get Restored to Its Bril­liant Orig­i­nal Col­ors

A Restored Ver­meer Paint­ing Reveals a Por­trait of a Cupid Hid­den for Over 350 Years

How an Art Con­ser­va­tor Com­plete­ly Restores a Dam­aged Paint­ing: A Short, Med­i­ta­tive Doc­u­men­tary

Watch the Renais­sance Paint­ing, The Bat­tle of San Romano, Get Brought Beau­ti­ful­ly to Life in a Hand-Paint­ed Ani­ma­tion

Free Course: An Intro­duc­tion to the Art of the Ital­ian Renais­sance

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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Comments (162)
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  • Mr. says:

    Talk about glam­or shots!
    Makes one won­der how many count­less oth­ers around the world are like this!

  • Rick says:

    The restora­tion is an abom­i­na­tion — she com­plete­ly changed the face, the chin, the nose, the eyes and the fore­head. Addi­tion­al­ly, the beau­ti­ful and sen­si­tive sfu­ma­to has dis­ap­peared, replaced with ama­teur­ish hard tran­si­tions at the chin, eyes and nose.
    The piece is ruined.

  • Clint wade says:

    I must be crazy, I liked the before pic bet­ter.

  • Race. Lucent says:

    It has­n’t been restored. It’s been altered into anoth­er paint­ing and ruined.

  • Stephanie says:

    You obvi­ous­ly did­n’t read the arti­cle.

  • B Bai says:

    I think that the above com­ments failed to notice that the pret­ty Vic­to­ri­an over paint was not the orig­i­nal, and did not reflect the actu­al woman whose por­trait was made in the orig­i­nal.

  • Asta says:

    @Rick — Those “hard tran­si­tions” are actu­al­ly the orig­i­nal fea­tures. The “abom­i­na­tion” here is the Vic­to­ri­an attempt to revise the paint­ing accord­ing to the artis­tic mer­its of the time, i.e. in this very case, the Leed­ham’s revi­sions — some­thing like the Insta­gram fil­ters of today.

  • Pling says:

    The “abom­i­na­tion” and what “com­plete­ly changed the face” was paint­ing a new face over the orig­i­nal one 300 years lat­er. The face of Isabel­la de’ Medici was turned into a gener­ic Vic­to­ri­an face that did­n’t resem­ble her at all, just to make her “pret­ti­er” and “mod­ern” look­ing. What if that was done today to Mona Lisa? *shud­der*

  • Heidi says:

    That look hor­ren­dous what in the bloody world did they destroy her face

    I get clean­ing dirt but it’s Beyond me as an artist that a so called artist is allowed to touch another’s and then call it A Mas­ter s it’s bee taint­ed this angers me as an artist

    It’s a dis­ser­vice can we just stop paint­ing Over oth­er peo­ples hard work ugh

  • Lindsay Garcia says:

    I have to say (and I mean this with all respect and sin­cer­i­ty), I believe that the tabloidish gos­sip that has been afford­ed to women of that time is an even greater alter­ation than one could do to their like­ness through a paint­ing. It is paint­ing a lega­cy large­ly based on rumor (just as it is today) with very lit­tle to no proof and all that lega­cy ever has to do with is her rumored sex­u­al appetite/behavior. Tru­ly I would rather know the name of the sub­ject and to be able to gaze upon their unique por­trait and won­der what their life must have been like based upon their age, famil­ial back­ground (not rumored sex­u­al back­ground), and the empa­thy behind their eyes than to time and time again be force fed that every woman of that time was noth­ing more than a bad girl and a promis­cu­ous har­lot. I don’t know. It just does­n’t seem fair, and indeed in those times women weren’t allowed or expect­ed to do much of any­thing espe­cial­ly in court life oth­er than serve a man of rank, but I am sure they want­ed to. I am sure they had things they were good at and were lov­ing dot­ing moth­ers with dreams and hob­bies and things that made them spe­cial and unique. This is just such an excit­ing dis­cov­ery and it’s so dim­ming to it’s mag­ic to treat this wom­an’s char­ac­ter just like every oth­er woman who’s por­trait was done cen­turies ago. If we can find out such infor­ma­tion about their sex­u­al lives sure­ly infor­ma­tion can be found about what they actu­al­ly were like as indi­vid­u­als. And if not don’t they deserve to be treat­ed more respect­ful­ly, espe­cial­ly in death, than a round­ing up their entire life sto­ry all whit­tled down to their rumored sex­u­al escapades and who they may or may not have slept with? I just feel like if peo­ple put in enough of an effort to find out more about the women of our past oth­er than their sex­u­al his­to­ry they most cer­tain­ly would find infor­ma­tion, and I for one would be much more inter­est­ed in know­ing about that than about the same old cheesy, sen­sa­tion­al­ized sto­ries about their sex life.

  • Lindsay Garcia says:

    Seri­ous­ly. I think more than one per­son failed to actu­al­ly read the arti­cle. The per­son who paint­ed over the orig­i­nal is the one who ruined the orig­i­nal paint­ing. Clear­ly peo­ple think it is “ruined” because the face por­trayed in the orig­i­nal they don’t deem to be as beau­ti­ful as the altered paint­ing. I think it’s incred­i­ble that they were able to restore the orig­i­nal. What a mag­i­cal thing to be able to do!

  • Jb says:

    Did you read the arti­cle? It explains that a pret­ti­er, dain­tier woman was lat­er paint­ed over the orig­i­nal sub­ject, and that this restora­tion was based upon an extant copy of the same por­trait.

  • Ken says:

    The “orig­i­nal” that was restored is less visu­al­ly appeal­ing — I wouldn’t hang the restored ver­sion in my home — ugly.

  • Margaret Kelleher says:

    Agree with Rick,looks like an entire­ly dif­fer­ent per­son.

  • Gil says:

    You’re absolute­ly cor­rect. I feel almost heart­bro­ken to see what has been done to this love­ly woman’s por­trait. The first thing I noticed was the com­plete­ly altered fore­head. The expres­sion went from soft and warm, to harsh and glar­ing, as if she’s being giv­en the third degree, with a bright lamp in her face. At least we still have images of the orig­i­nal before it was ruined. Please don’t allow this butch­er to alter anoth­er paint­ing.

  • Jess says:

    I don’t think any­one is doomed because they par­ty. A man mur­dered her. That is not her fault ever.

  • Brandon says:

    Well, it’s not ruined. it’s restored. But I like the “orig­i­nal”.

  • Kat says:

    The before pic­ture was NOT the orig­i­nal. It seems you need to work on your read­ing com­pre­hen­sion skills. Don’t wor­ry though, seems at least half the com­menters have the same issue…
    They paint­ing had been pre­vi­ous­ly ‘restored’(Victorian Era)and a pret­ti­er Vic­to­ri­an style face was paint­ed over the orig­i­nal which you see in the before image. While I agree the restora­tion is less appeal­ing it is like­ly far clos­er to the orig­i­nal than the gener­ic pret­ty wash it got back in the Vic­to­ri­an days. If you look at paint­ing styles of the time when the paint­ing was actu­al­ly cre­at­ed, the restora­tion style is much more sim­i­lar.


  • Colin says:

    Before you crit­i­cize art restora­tion work, you should try learn­ing how to read!! I think I have some old Dick & Jane books in my base­ment that you could bor­row! Don’t wor­ry, their faces are all bland­ly stereo­typ­i­cal, so it won’t be fright­en­ing for you.

  • Colin says:

    If you go back and actu­al­ly read the arti­cle, I think you will find that the art con­ser­va­tor has a very sim­i­lar point of view to you.

  • Colin says:

    Whoops lol com­ments don’t actu­al­ly post in response to peo­ple so I just sound aim­less­ly bel­liger­ent. Sor­ry about that. I can’t fig­ure out how to delete com­ments but mods feel free to haha­ha

  • Karen says:

    I under­stand the detailed work and yes, I read the arti­cle. The eyes… I know it can be just a mil­lime­ter dif­fer­ence but I have a prob­lem with the eyes not look­ing aligned.

  • Steven cole says:

    I could­n’t agree more!!!!.… it is beyond horrible!!!!!!.….ruined!!!…how was this per­son not fired for this…who was over­see­ing her progress!!…I just have no words for this!!!

  • Jack says:

    I am not sure I like the removal of the sec­ond paint­ing from the first. We lose such inter­est­ing his­to­ry. If we find ruins below the col­li­se­um, should we roll the bull­doz­ers to get to the orig­i­nal?
    Despite my mis­giv­ings, it is inter­est­ing to see the dif­fer­ences in the face, while the clothes were left the same. I would have thought that changes in fash­ion would have occurred faster than changes in beau­ty stan­dards.

  • Cat Bennett says:

    Thank you! She looked beau­ti­ful young and beau­ti­ful before the now pic­ture makes her look like her moth­er and not so pret­ty. I mean look at her nose and eye bags!

  • Jaime Elliott says:

    I’m guess­ing this paint­ing was orig­i­nal­ly a com­mis­sioned work. Pro­duced by the artist to earn a liv­ing. Not some­thing that welled up from their soul and required expres­sion. At some point the orig­i­nal own­er or their heirs decid­ed the work no longer appealed to them and they dis­posed of it. At that point it became a prod­uct for resale. I sus­pect the vic­to­ri­an artist altered the paint­ing to make it more like­ly to sell and hence earn their liv­ing. The cur­rent restor­er, not an artist as she admits, to earn their liv­ing was com­mis­sioned to restore it. The purest atti­tude of the cur­rent own­er destroyed the beau­ty in that paint­ing. Not the restor­er. And so does­n’t deserve dis­dain.

  • Maria Bibiana says:

    Sad­ly I agree, the beau­ty and fine art of the orig­i­nal is gone, it does no longer attract my view

  • Bo Tamaki says:

    Ha. Obvi­ous­ly these peo­ple did not read the sto­ry. Yes. Total­ly fas­ci­nat­ed lis­ten­ing to her and watch­ing her reveal what was in the x‑ray. Bax­ter’s con­ver­sa­tion with us as she was work­ing was remark­able. She has so much knowl­edge. Bra­vo.

  • Ann P. Cahouet says:

    Please read the arti­cle. The por­traits are of two dif­fer­ent women. The orig­i­nal por­trait depicts Isabel­la de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tus­cany’s daugh­ter and a noto­ri­ous par­ty girl. Isabel­la was mar­ried with a num­ber of lovers, and she was pro­tect­ed for years by her ador­ing father. After her father died, Isabel­la died mys­te­ri­ous­ly, alleged­ly at the hands of her hus­band. Then in the 19th Cen­tu­ry, Isabel­la’s por­trait was paint­ed over to fea­ture anoth­er woman entire­ly. The sec­ond woman is reput­ed to be Eleanor of Tole­do, wife of Cosi­mo I de’ Medici, the sec­ond Duke of Flo­rence. It’s pos­si­ble that the over­paint­ing was an attempt to erase any mem­o­ry of Isabel­la and replace it with the image of a woman whose behav­ior was con­sid­ered more fit­ting for her rank. But they are two dif­fer­ent women, and the orig­i­nal image of the first woman, Isabel­la, has been restored.

  • Zed says:

    For those of you who enjoyed watch­ing this process, you need to check out Baum­gart­ner Restora­tion. He takes you through each piece of art restro­ra­tion, com­plete with the removal of over­paint.


  • Alisa says:

    I agree with you Rick, how incred­i­bly sad. My heart sank when I saw the after pic­ture. Her orig­i­nal fea­tures are gone. It’s not even the same per­son. The fore­head is just atro­cious. Even her hand is altered! The sfu­ma­to gone, what a shame :(

  • Mel says:

    The x‑ray for­tu­nate­ly revealed the true paint­ing beneath. It def­i­nite­ly looks more like a Bronzi­no after the restora­tion. A very inter­est­ing paint­ing, if not the best por­trait done of Isabel­la.

  • Anna Keegan says:

    Look again ! She was­n’t ruined, she was restored. The Vic­to­ri­an’s ruined her, now she’s back to her orig­i­nal glo­ry

  • Thomas says:

    This was a poor attempt for sure. Not in restora­tion of the ORIGINAL paint­ing. But in the mak­ing of the video. I came to the com­ment sec­tion with the same thoughts as most of the peo­ple here. It was only then I real­ized the paint­ing was altered by some­one entire­ly dif­fer­ent than the orig­i­nal artist. This should been more clear in the out­set and not a brief foot­note, that made it seem like the orig­i­nal artist, who­ev­er that is, had sec­ond thoughts. Maybe as a result of the sub­ject not being hap­py with her image. I have had this hap­pen to myself in the past. Any­way, ‘good job’ to the restora­tion artist. A far cry from the lam­bast­ing I had in mind.

  • Britt says:

    Good grief. Peo­ple read a few lines and then write an opin­ion. The “Pret­ti­er” ver­sion was the fraud. The repaint. It was restored to what it was orig­i­nal­ly. It was cleaned of dirt and paint used to obscure the orig­i­nal paint­ing beneath.

  • Ashley says:

    Con­sid­er­ing the fact that it is a por­trait of a real per­son it was meant to actu­al­ly look like the per­son that mod­eled for it

  • Michelle says:

    I think it’s no coin­ci­dence that the ones who are call­ing the restora­tion “ugly” are the ones who did­n’t read the arti­cle.

  • Lottelina says:

    Fas­ci­nat­ing restora­tion, reveal­ing a true char­ac­ters behind all the Vic­to­ri­an ‘fil­ters’!
    It would indeed help the read­er and pre­vent some of the mis­un­der­stand­ing if the pic­tures were not labelled ‘before’ and ‘after’, but 1) With over­paint­ed face 2) After restor­ing the orig­i­nal paint­ing under­neath… or some­thing along the lines.

  • kylie says:

    Very inter­est­ing. As an artist, I see both sides of the table. I found this piece amus­ing. This is where the say­ing beau­ty is in the eye of the behold­er comes in. Imag­ine our world and his­to­ry with­out rose col­ored lens­es; would it evoke the same reac­tions? Would we be more accept­ing or sub­con­scious­ly grav­i­tate towards the col­lec­tive ideals of the times? How beau­ty is con­sis­tent, but sub­tly changes? Very, very inter­est­ing.

  • Laurie Schermer says:

    Total­ly ruined the por­trait. The ‘after’ restored image has lost her fem­i­nine soft­ness. The shad­ing of her face, pro­trud­ing forhead,darkness around her eyes. Its all hor­ri­ble. such a shame. But what do I know.…

  • Chase says:

    It’s not ruined because it doesn’t suit your lik­ing.

    Read. The. Arti­cle. The restora­tion was based on an exist­ing por­trait of the actu­al woman. The “before” you like so much is actu­al­ly not the orig­i­nal. What you’re see­ing was paint­ed on cen­turies after the orig­i­nal work was made. Restora­tion sim­ply took away the Vic­to­ri­an edits.

  • Thomas says:

    I think some of the peo­ple’s pre­tend­ing not to under­stand the before and after are just trolls get­ting you for fun. Peo­ple can’t be do stu­pid, right?

  • Brandi Lee says:

    I com­plete­ly agree. The 1st pic has soft fea­tures. She total­ly changed every­thing about the face. The fore­head n nose look lumpy & her eyes are not lev­el not the same size. Gonna tell me that under all that build up this is what was wait­ing. It is ruined. She put her­self in the paint­ing & it shows. She must not touch anoth­er.. EVER

  • KDante says:

    Anoth­er exam­ple of restora­tion mal­prac­tice. Thank­ful there are pic­tures of the orig­i­nals.

  • Anonymous says:

    The before pic­ture looked 10 times more beau­ti­ful than the after pic­ture. Why does the after pic­ture have all those wrin­kles and why does she look kind of man­nish now. These are not the same paint­ings this restora­tion is absolute­ly bad. The eyes are absolute­ly messed up her eyes are not sym­met­ri­cal she has wrin­kles as she does­n’t have in the orig­i­nal pic­ture the skin is pal­lid she looks like she’s dying she kind of looks like a man now as well. Wow

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the expla­na­tion this real­ly clears things up a lot. What a hor­rif­ic sto­ry. Did he mur­dered by her hus­band and then have your por­trait even paint it over just for hav­ing a cou­ple flings who cares

  • Nicole says:

    Wow how did she man­age to elon­gate her fore­head? I think she should be fired It’s a trav­es­ty she com­plete­ly changed the entire look of her. Should have just left it alone.

  • Laurie Goff says:

    The before pic­ture gives it a beau­ty to the lady. Should not change!

  • Nikole Cifelli says:

    Lind­say, I could not agree w/ you more! The con­ser­va­tor is very clear when explain­ing what her posi­tion is; She’s not alter­ing the paint­ing, but rather restor­ing it to it’s orig­i­nal like­ness. She explains that it’s not her place to embell­ish since she is not the artist. To my under­stand­ing, she removes the over­paint to expose the orig­i­nal & she only repairs obvi­ous signs of wear. It amazes me that so many fail to pay atten­tion to the actu­al facts, yet take the time to share their faulty assump­tions. It’s very strange, IMHO! Also, the video shows the orig­i­nal work via an X‑ray, so we can all see that noth­ing was changed by the con­ser­va­tor’s work. Last­ly, the restored paint­ing reflects the time peri­od from which it came; It now accu­rate­ly depicts 16th cen­tu­ry por­trai­ture.

  • Nikole Cifelli says:

    Thomas, I tru­ly wish they were just trolling, but sad­ly, I don’t think that was the case. Appar­ent­ly every­one is an expert, except for the woman w/ the degree.

  • Nikole Cifelli says:

    Col­in, I’m grate­ful to have read your com­ment pri­or to leav­ing my own; I just made sure to add a name when respond­ing to a spe­cif­ic com­menter~ lol.

  • Marelle says:

    This is grotesque.

  • Jeff Dranetz says:

    Beau­ty made home­ly.

  • WokerThenWoke says:

    The before is way bet­ter then the after. Looks like 2 com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent paint­ings. She restored the paint­ing like the mar­ket­ing whiz at Bud Lite.

  • Flor says:

    That is a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent and ugli­er pic­ture!!! It is ruined! Why was this allowed? a beau­ti­ful mas­ter piece is now a piece of com­mon garbage. Sad!

  • Tanner says:

    I can’t decide which is more incred­i­ble. The exquis­ite restora­tion of this art piece, or the num­ber of peo­ple who don’t know how to read arti­cles or think crit­i­cal­ly. This com­ment sec­tion was superbly enter­tain­ing and helps me under­stand how mis­in­for­ma­tion is so preva­lent. If you’re infu­ri­at­ed by this art restora­tion, take a few deep breaths and re-read the arti­cle. Take it slow and sound all the words out…

  • Ana says:

    He took a beau­ti­ful paint­ing and destroyed it. Made her look like a guy in drag. 🤨

  • Katie says:

    They removed the “beau­ti­fy­ing” retouch done dur­ing a preser­va­tion process in the 1800s. The sharp­er image is what it looked like when orig­i­nal­ly. There’s more about it in the arti­cle, but I think the his­to­ry behind both ver­sions is fas­ci­nat­ing.

  • Jennifer D. says:


  • Jennifer says:

    And please excuse my typos. I am very heat­ed up by this. Lol

  • Lotte says:

    Thank you! Clear­ly those that think the con­ser­va­tor changed this paint­ing haven’t read it at all.

  • Debra DuBose says:

    I agree with you whole­heart­ed­ly.
    It was so poor­ly done that it could pos­si­bly be of two dif­fer­ent women. The fore­head knows and mouth look noth­ing alike.
    Appalling to have done some­thing to an icon­ic work of art.

  • DK says:

    Read­ing the com­ments, now we know how Trump and Brex­it, and why there’s a pro-Putin 5th col­umn in some of the West. Lots of very, very stu­pid peo­ple in these com­ments who can­not read.

  • Margaret Yale says:

    The AFTER IS THE TRUE ORIGINAL!!!! It is remark­able to me how many peo­ple who have com­ment­ed either did not actu­al­ly read the arti­cle or did not under­stand what they read, then broad­cast their right­eous igno­rance for all to see. Explains a lot about the state of things in the U.S. these days.

  • Steve says:

    Is it sup­posed to look shit? Did it orig­i­nal­ly?

  • Samantha says:

    Are most of us not under­stand­ing what the word restore means? that the before pic­ture is the one that is paint­ed over… she removed all the paint that was paint­ed over the orig­i­nal and RESTORED it to what the paint­ing should have been. The AFTER that most are com­plain­ing about IS WHAT THE ORIGINAL ARTIST PAINTED. Tell me you don’t have a clue about Vic­to­ri­an Era paint­ing with­out telling me

  • Lisa says:

    It appears no one actu­al­ly read the arti­cle. The over­paint­ing (done after the orig­i­nal work was cre­at­ed) was removed and this IS the orig­i­nal paint­ing. Arti­cles are not pic­ture books, guys. You have to read the words, too.

  • Caitlin says:

    The amount of peo­ple who would rather the woman be ‘pret­ty’ than authen­tic is … depress­ing.

  • Ron says:

    I agree…what you see now is the orig­i­nal painting…it had been paint­ed over with anoth­er face. Does no one read the arti­cles? They sure don’t teach much in schools these days appar­ent­ly.

  • Angie oshea says:

    Good point! Its time we stop view­ing his­to­ry from the puri­tan­i­cal male gaze. No doubt peo­ple of her socio-eco­nom­ic lev­el fre­quent­ly had affairs, and cer­tain­ly the men were no dif­fer­ent.

    It’s also inter­est­ing read­ing the com­men­tary about how this wom­an’s face was ruined by rep­re­sent­ing her as she tru­ly was. The com­ments tell us so much about our desire to white­wash his­to­ry and to make ordi­nary women look like mod­els. The pur­pose of a por­trait was not to dis­play a mod­el but to dis­play the actu­al per­son being paint­ed.

  • Anthony says:

    That’s not a restora­tion.. That’s a dif­fer­ent pic­ture. Don’t call it a restora­tion. This is one of the dumb­est things I’ve read.

  • Charles says:

    The “restor­er” destroyed the paint­ing. The chin, the hair­line, the eyes, the cheeks and ears are all dif­fer­ent. It is tru­ly sad to see.

  • Nicola says:

    I don’t under­stand how all of you are so stu­pid. Did any­body read this arti­cle? The pret­ty face is the wrong one. It’s the over­paint­ing.

    You’re all so mad that she’s ugly now- that is the actu­al sub­ject. The con­ser­va­tor did­n’t change her face, she removed the basic and bor­ing face that the vic­to­ri­ans cov­ered her up with .

    What makes you think these peo­ple were all nat­u­ral­ly gor­geous? Why would a fake paint­ing be more appro­pri­ate? One of you com­ment­ed you would­n’t hang it in your house, why should you be able to hang some­thing like this in your house? Why should you get to decide she’s too ugly now? Who who are all of you and why are you even half read­ing this arti­cle and both­er­ing to reply. Pathet­ic, igno­rant nar­row mind­ed peo­ple. Buy a print of the old one, and fake to your friends that you are so smart and know that this was the orig­i­nal paint­ing. Then talk about how you know bet­ter than the Chief con­ser­va­tor at Carnegie. I’m sure they’ll believe you.

  • Nicola says:

    Hey Alisa, why don’t you open your eyes a lit­tle wider and read the arti­cle? Or did you only look at the pret­ty pic­ture and then decide you have an opin­ion.

    Does­n’t mat­ter if the new face was pret­ti­er if it was paint­ed over the orig­i­nal. It was bland and bor­ing and could have been put on any paint­ing of any­one. The orig­i­nal she restored it back to actu­al­ly looks like a real per­son. Sor­ry she’s not pret­ty enough for you. Kind of sad all of you are just look­ing for a pret­ty face in these paint­ings and don’t care about how they orig­i­nal­ly meant to be rep­re­sent­ed

  • Nicola says:

    Well Antho­ny, I ques­tion your abil­i­ty to read at all, since you total­ly missed the point of this arti­cle.

    The pret­ty face you’re so fond of is wrong and was cov­er­ing the restored face. The con­ser­va­tor did­n’t just go in there and make her ugly for fun. She want­ed to see the orig­i­nal intend­ed por­trait. Which is more impor­tant than the “pret­ty” Vic­to­ri­an com­mer­cial face that was paint­ed over the orig­i­nal.

    Why is every­body just look­ing at the pic­tures and then pre­tend­ing that they read the arti­cle

  • nathan says:

    Tell me you did­n’t read the arti­cle with­out telling me you did­n’t read the arti­cle.

  • Tanya says:

    The orig­i­nal was the right hand side. Some­one paint­ed over her fea­tures to make her look soft­er and warmer 300 years lat­er. There was noth­ing soft about Isabel­la d’Medici’s fea­tures. This restora­tion is per­fect.

  • Lois L. Foster says:

    Haven been an art stu­dent, it looks like anoth­er per­son. Hair­line has been moved upward about 3/4 of an inch. Every­thing that makes her look fem­i­nine has been removed. She looks like a peas­ant now. Hard not regal.

  • Kenny says:

    I TOTALLY agree! That’s trash, it’s so obvi­ous

  • Kenny says:

    Lgbtq change it seems.. nonethe­less it’s a trashed paint­ing now

  • Kerrie says:

    She is restor­ing it to the ORIGINAL. anoth­er per­son altered the orig­i­nal to look like the ver­sion on the right. The left is the true orig­i­nal.

  • Kerrie says:

    It lit­er­al­ly is anoth­er per­son. Read the arti­cle.

  • Autumn says:

    It reminds me of when high def­i­n­i­tion tele­vi­sions came out. You sud­den­ly could see all the details flat­ter­ing or not on reporters. It looked so dif­fer­ent then low res­o­lu­tion.

  • Steph says:

    I did read the arti­cle. Yes it is a dis­grace. Total remake. They may as well have set it on fire.

  • Steph says:

    Some peo­ple are gullible.

  • Inuyasha says:

    You are mak­ing the assump­tion that the unre­stored ver­sions the orig­i­nal, and miss­ing the point entire­ly of what restora­tion means. Read the arti­cle more care­ful­ly, the unre­stored ver­sion was mod­i­fied by an unre­lat­ed cura­tor many years (hun­dreds?) after the orig­i­nal was paint­ed. The unre­stored ver­sion is fake. They restored the real ver­sion of the paint­ing. It’s not “ama­teur” to pro­duce real­ism, and the fact you think the glam­orous ver­sion of beau­ty is the “real ver­sion” tells some­thing of your prej­u­dice and assump­tions on what women should look like.

  • Linda Treadwell says:

    DK… that’s exact­ly what I was think­ing. Peo­ple don’t pay any atten­tion to what is impor­tant, even when it’s point­ed out to them with facts, but they still get an opin­ion and still get to vote. SMH

  • scott says:

    read it again. this is what the orig­i­nal looked like. some­one else paint­ed over the orig­i­nal and this is restor­ing it.

  • Angela says:

    Lit­er­al­ly saw this YouTube video 8 YEARS AGO.

  • Kristine Booth says:

    Many read­ers are obvi­ous­ly con­fus­ing an idea of beau­ty with the the issue of being authen­tic! The before restora­tion is paint applied Over the Orig­i­nal! The Orig­i­nal Nev­er was attrac­tive by our stan­dards. The Orig­i­nal was Not Even The Same Woman!!!Please, I AM an artist! The restora­tion was a dif­fer­ent woman entire­ly!!! Please do ReRead the sto­ry.

  • Dannythinksitsvacuum says:

    I read the arti­cle. I under­stand that the orig­i­nal paint­ing was of the ugly woman. I under­stand that some­body paint­ed over that ugly mess and actu­al­ly made a work of art worth hang­ing on the wall. Why any­body would seek to restore the orig­i­nal is beyond me. Many peo­ple through­out his­to­ry have paint­ed ugly things that are not worth sav­ing or restor­ing. This hor­ren­dous “restora­tion” is just part of the pathet­ic attempt to rede­fine beau­ty stan­dards. It’s not work­ing. Please bring back the dain­ty woman.

  • Dannythinksitsvacuum says:

    Where do you get off judg­ing oth­er peo­ple’s stan­dards of beau­ty? Peo­ple have every right to judge the beau­ty of a thing. If they cor­rect­ly iden­ti­fy some long dead Ital­ian woman as a hor­ri­bly ugly then who are you to ques­tion their truth. It seems you are the one being nar­row mind­ed here. The orig­i­nal was paint­ed over because nobody want­ed to look at it. If peo­ple enjoyed look­ing at it it would have remained orig­i­nal.
    Just because a thing is old and orig­i­nal does not make it beau­ti­ful.

  • Dee says:

    The orig­i­nal paint­ing is the one on the right. It had been paint­ed over and giv­en the face on the left. The paint­ing was restored to what it orig­i­nal­ly looked like.

  • Kotshi says:

    I thought the same as they did upon see­ing the pic­tures, read­ing the arti­cle changed my mind.
    Clear­ly they haven’t read it

  • Leonardo says:

    She real­ly Rusty Trom­boned it.

  • Michael says:

    I get the idea but the altered paint­ing is just as much a muse­um piece at this point in time.

    And hon­est­ly to me it kind of feels like they just ruined a far supe­ri­or piece of art to remake a dif­fer­ent one.
    Even the stuff that could just be age and wear like the yel­lowed met­al bits, lighter back­ground, and dark­er skin tone look bet­ter to me.
    To such an extent I was think­ing the restora­tion looked hor­ri­ble before I even zoomed in and noticed the face is dif­fer­ent.

  • Sheryl says:

    I agree!

  • Mike Clough says:

    It’s amaz­ing how many peo­ple have not read the arti­cle and yet com­ment so con­fi­dent­ly wrong!

  • Anna says:

    This com­ment sec­tion is a per­fect rep­re­sen­ta­tion of how abom­inably, con­fi­dent­ly igno­rant peo­ple have become. They read a title. Look at a pic­ture. Assume they know every­thing about the sit­u­a­tion. Make sure they don’t read any­thing that might alter their opin­ion. Make rude, erro­neous, mind-bog­gling­ly stu­pid state­ments. Rinse. Repeat.

    The fact that so many would rather see the fake “pret­ty” woman over the actu­al por­trait of the real woman is… Well, it’s not sur­pris­ing either.

  • Jane Murdock says:

    Bril­liant job. Amaz­ing restora­tion.

  • Zascali says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Her restora­tions are more her emo­tions than the orig­i­nal artist

  • Eric says:

    Restored back to her inbred glo­ry!

  • D says:

    What’s iron­ic about your com­ment is the “pain­ing over the the orig­i­nal” occurred about 200ish years ago. Bax­ter agreed with your sen­ti­ment and restored the paint­ing to the orig­i­nal art­work cre­at­ed in the 1500’s. It helps to actu­al­ly read, or at least skim, the arti­cle.

  • Matt says:

    Let me just start by say­ing…
    I AM an artist. I’m not sure why I’m telling you that — It real­ly has noth­ing with what I’m about to say nor my abil­i­ty to under­stand art relat­ed arti­cles, and absolute­ly under no cir­cum­stances gives you any rea­son to trust my basic obser­va­tion skills or intel­li­gence but I saw oth­er peo­ple say it and it looked cool — so I just want­ed to try it out. I do feel bet­ter about myself now that I got that out of the way.
    If you skip that first part it’s ok, art schmart, I know the com­ments are the real meat and pota­toes in this crowd, which is I why I’m here — This has to be one of the most incred­i­ble com­ments sec­tions I’ve ever read. Espe­cial­ly after read­ing the arti­cle (just in case it’s not clear: I looked at the words > my brain did some pro­cess­ing stuff > boom, mag­ic > I knew what this shit was about.) How­ev­er, I am not sure if I’m cry­ing from laugh­ing too hard because it’s hilar­i­ous or if I’m cry­ing because it’s sad that there are so many peo­ple (like actu­al grown ups) walk­ing around this earth that deserve to be laughed at.

  • Jen says:

    What can be achieved with insults?! There are civ­i­lized ways of express­ing ones views/opinions!

  • Heather says:

    You obvi­ous­ly did not com­pre­hend the arti­cle — the “pret­ti­er” face was paint­ed ~over~ the orig­i­nal some 300 years lat­er. The restora­tion artist only removed the “repaint” to show the orig­i­nal that was hid­ing beneath it. The restora­tion artist did not paint anoth­er new face.

  • Pling says:

    Debra DuBose said: “It was so poor­ly done that it could pos­si­bly be of two dif­fer­ent women. The fore­head knows and mouth look noth­ing alike. Appalling to have done some­thing to an icon­ic work of art.”


    The orig­nal por­trait of Isabel­la was PAINTED OVER with a gener­ic Vic­to­ri­an FANTASY female face 300 years after the por­trait was paint­ed! What if some­one paint­ed a new pret­ty mod­el face over Mona Lisa to fit the 2020s style of beau­ty. Would that be an icon­ic work of art? No, it would be VANDALISM!

  • Pling says:

    Zas­cali said: “You hit the nail on the head. Her restora­tions are more her emo­tions than the orig­i­nal artist”

    No, the before pic­ture did­n’t show the work of the orig­i­nal artist, because the por­trait of Isabel­la had been paint­ed over cen­turies lat­er by some­one else to fit the tastes of the Vic­to­ri­an age. It was­n’t a por­trait of Isabel­la any­more, but of a gener­ic fan­ta­sy woman. That lay­er was removed by the restor­er, and the orig­nal face of Isabel­la restored, what the orig­i­nal artist paint­ed.

  • Pam says:

    Sor­ry, the before piece was bet­ter. That’s art that I know. It would be abhor­rent if all beau­ti­ful works of art were refin­ished. I’d nev­er vis­it anoth­er art gallery again.

  • Algernon says:

    Absolute­ly appalling! This is not even the same paint­ing any­more! This “artist” just decid­ed to make this actu­al his­tor­i­cal per­son into some­one else! You can’t even right­ful­ly call this by the same name at this point! We have so many extreme­ly tal­ent­ed artists in this world who hold the deep­est respects for his­tor­i­cal art and the impor­tance of main­tain­ing it in its orig­i­nal vision, and yet all of our most impor­tant works around the world are being dumped into the hands of “vision­ar­ies” with more “vision” than tal­ent. Sad

  • Manny says:

    What you ordered: left; what you received from wish.com: right

  • Kim says:

    As many oth­ers have said, that was not restora­tion but ruina­tion of a fine piece of art. The face is very dif­fer­ent and not in a good way.

  • Gregory says:

    On the left you have a fine look­ing piece of art. On the right you have an AI gen­er­at­ed ren­di­tion. Lol. I read the arti­cle, I under­stand what took place and all that jazz but man… in my sub­jec­tive opin­ion, the before ver­sion looked bet­ter. Oh well,

  • RK Hageman says:

    No, the piece was ruined by the Vic­to­ri­an artist who paint­ed a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent woman on top of the face of the *orig­i­nal sub­ject.*

    The piece now looks like it did when it was first paint­ed. Pret­ty? No. Nei­ther was the sub­ject, Isabel­la de Medici.

  • Jake says:

    I liked it before. The clean­ing to me ruined the peice. They are two dif­fer­ent pic­tures now. One I like it’s calm and sooth­ing. The before pic­ture. The now pic­tures looks like some­one turned on a flourence light bulb and destroyed an artist entire peice because of the two very dif­fer­ent per­cep­tion I can see and feel. Just my point of view. One very intrigu­ing. The oth­er not even wor­thy of bath­room art at the local sub­way sand­wich shop. I would ask man­age­ment to put up a replace­ment I would select for the good­will. Bra­vo to sab­o­tage of real art with your wash cloth and gaso­line.🤮

  • Darlene says:

    I agree! I like the paint­ing BEFORE she “restored”. The artist paint­ed over it for a rea­son!

  • Anita Hawkins says:

    I total­ly agree. The woman in the orig­i­nal paint­ing is beau­ti­ful. The after results is harsh and took her beau­ty and per­son­al­i­ty away. It’s like tak­ing the Mona Lisa and chang­ing her smile & dis­tort­ing her face. The per­son that was in this paint­ing is no more. Very sad indeed.

  • Drew says:

    He turned a soft and pret­ty look­ing lady into a harsh look­ing Dragqueen.

  • lenoralb says:

    It is amaz­ing how a lit­tle clean­ing can make the orig­i­nal face longer, thin­ner, and with a man brow. Incred­i­ble how a clean­ing can make a pen­dant appear and the hand of the woman look larg­er than the orig­i­nal. Yes, it is quite aston­ish­ing how clean­ing a paint­ing can give a woman such mas­cu­line fea­tures. Wow, how the inten­tions from back then creep into today’s trend. Simply….unbelievable, how a mas­ter­piece can be ruined and because of the social cli­mate, it’s ok.

  • Alanna says:

    “The minute she saw the oil paint­ing pur­port­ed to be of Eleanor of Tole­do… Bax­ter knew some­thing wasn’t quite right. The face was too bland­ly pret­ty, “like a Vic­to­ri­an cook­ie tin box lid,” she says. Upon exam­in­ing the back of the paint­ing, she identified—thanks to a trusty Google search—the stamp of Fran­cis Leed­ham, who worked at the Nation­al Por­trait Gallery in Lon­don in the mid-1800s as a “relin­er,” trans­fer­ring paint­ings from a wood pan­el to can­vas mount. The painstak­ing process involves scrap­ing and sand­ing away the pan­el from back to front and then glu­ing the paint­ed sur­face lay­er to a new can­vas.”

    There. I put the text here because clear­ly some­one has to hold some­one’s hand through read­ing. The BEFORE image was NOT the orig­i­nal paint­ing. Some­one paint­ed a “pret­ti­er” lady over the orig­i­nal lady. Lit­er­al­ly a scum­my artist paint­ed over the “ugly” lady. This won­der­ful restora­tionist SAVED this paint­ing by putting the orig­i­nal “ugly” lady back. I point my fin­ger and LAUGH at these “fel­low” artist who claimed that this paint­ing was ruined. SHAME.

  • Alanna says:


  • Blaze says:

    Took a work of art and ruined it. That per­son should be kept from “restor­ing” any­thing else cause they suck at it so bad col­or looked bet­ter before and looks like a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent woman as the face was changed.

  • Alanna says:

    All the peo­ple say­ing that the woman appears “ugli­er” don’t sup­port real art. You guys are the rea­son why real art gets destroyed. Art is a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of expres­sion and his­tor­i­cal mean­ing. The “ugly lady” is the orig­i­nal paint­ing!!!! The “pret­ty lady” was paint­ed OVER the “ugly lady” and was restored to its for­mer glo­ry! Man, I’m glad you guys don’t read! We can see who actu­al­ly appre­ci­ates REAL art and not what looks “pret­ty.”

  • Alanna says:

    @Blaze Bro did­n’t even both­er read­ing, con­grats you’ve showed us that you don’t know how to read! 👏👏👏

  • Alanna says:

    I agree with you Nico­la! Peo­ple only care about a pret­ty face and not the his­to­ry or real mean­ing of an art piece! Peo­ple on here say­ing it’s “sad” that the paint­ing got “ruined” when in real­i­ty it’s sad that peo­ple only care about how some­thing looks rather than keep­ing the orig­i­nal.

  • anon says:

    The real ques­tion is why was this arti­cle pub­lished EIGHT YEARS after the orig­i­nal video with 3 mil­lion views was uploaded?
    A lit­tle late to the draw. This is prac­ti­cal­ly ancient his­to­ry at this point.

  • Teresa says:

    Zed, thank you for the link!

  • Pling says:

    Alger­non said: “Absolute­ly appalling! This is not even the same paint­ing any­more! This “artist” just decid­ed to make this actu­al his­tor­i­cal per­son into some­one else!”

    Again, it was a painter in the 1800s who paint­ed a fan­ta­sy wom­an’s face on top of the por­trait of Isabel­la de Medici, just to trans­form it to a “pret­ty Vic­to­ri­an woman”. That lat­er paint was removed to reveal the orig­i­nal paint­ing, the por­trait of Isabel­la.

    The “actu­al his­tor­i­cal per­son” was restored by the restor­er. The over­paint did­n’t depict any his­tor­i­cal per­son at all, but a woman that did­n’t exist at all.

    What if some­one decid­ed to paint over Mona Lisa with a sexy mod­el alà 2023? Would that be right? Would you be appalled if a restor­er restored that paint­ing back to Mona Lisa? Why?

  • Pling says:

    Dar­lene said: “I like the paint­ing BEFORE she “restored”. The artist paint­ed over it for a rea­son”

    The orig­i­nal paint­ing was over­paint­ed 300 years lat­er, by a Vic­to­r­i­al artist, and the rea­son was prob­a­bly to make it sell for more mon­ey because the new fan­ta­sy face looked more “pret­ty” in the Vic­to­ri­an eyes. So it was­n’t the orig­i­nal artist who repaint­ed it, and he basi­cal­ly erased the por­trait of Isabel­la while doing it. It was­n’t a por­trait of her any­more.

    Would you glue the face of some pret­ty Kar­dashi­an celebri­ty over the face of your great grand­moth­er in a pho­to to make the por­trait pret­ti­er? Would it still be a por­trait of your grand­moth­er?

  • Niyah says:

    If that’s her orig­i­nal fea­tures, I can see why the artist in the before want­ed it changed

  • Isabella says:

    Not only do the mis­in­formed in this com­ment sec­tion fail to read the arti­cle, they fail to read the pletho­ra of com­ments before mak­ing their asi­nine con­clu­sions. Who actu­al­ly cares which por­trait is ‘pret­ti­er’? What mat­ters is that we get to see a piece of his­to­ry after the restora­tion.

    It is not right to berate the restor­er and sug­gest it would be bet­ter to keep the ver­sion that had been paint­ed over because of some sil­ly notions that your taste in art and women trumps all. His­tor­i­cal paint­ings were not made with the inten­tion to hang in your house, nor should they be used for that years lat­er. They pro­vide us a snap­shot of that time peri­od where cam­eras did no exist, where we can see a piece of the real woman and the real artist. The his­to­ry of the paint-over is fas­ci­nat­ing and I’m glad we have the abil­i­ty to record both ver­sions, but I’m pleased we get to see the orig­i­nal piece!

    To all the peo­ple who see a pic­ture and ignore the infor­ma­tion, to all the idiots claim­ing to be artists and, worse, to those mak­ing this a polit­i­cal issue, shame on you.

  • Dawn says:

    You’re absolute­ly right! Thanks for point­ing this out. It’s easy to get sucked into “tabloid”/sensationalized his­to­ries of peo­ple from.the past, and from the present too, and it’s a shame to have their lives be so one-dimen­sion­al. I won­der if we could find out more about Isabel­la.

  • Aon says:

    Way to com­plete­ly alter the paint­ing. This isn’t a restora­tion. This is an abom­i­na­tion. Don’t bs me as though she mere­ly restored what once was by remov­ing lay­ers. The hand is sig­nif­i­cant­ly thick­er and the ear is an entire­ly dif­fer­ent shape, to name only 2 of a great deal of promi­nent alter­ations. She ruined it utter­ly. What a sham.

  • Carolyn says:

    What a hor­ri­ble restora­tion! Did she remove the pret­ty final work and uncov­er an orig­i­nal con­cept that was nev­er meant to be seen?? I want to cry!!

  • Leah says:

    Age is beau­ty he total­ly changed leave some­thing ALONE

  • Mike says:

    Beau­ty is in the eyes of the behold­er. Thank God the guy who restored it got rid of that spooky stare. I’m guess­ing the guy who put on some of the lasagna coats noticed that spooky stare and avert­ed her eyes to please his own likes. They’re both beau­ti­ful works of art.

  • abacus wimberley says:

    could­n’t agree more. she says that it isn’t a con­ser­va­tor’s job to put them­selves into the paint­ing but… it’s exact­ly what she did. i found myself star­ing between the two for an embar­rass­ing­ly long amount of time, try­ing to fig­ure out how the hell it went so wrong!

  • abacus wimberley says:

    my thoughts exact­ly. this con­ser­va­tor insists that it’s the job of the con­ser­va­tor to fix the paint­ing, not inject your­self into it, but… that’s exact­ly what’s been done. i found myself look­ing between the two try­ing to fig­ure out how the hell it went wrong… if you’re going to con­serve a piece, con­serve it. if you’re going to do an egre­gious amount of over­paint and just add details not orig­i­nal to the piece, make your own damn paint­ing.

  • Pling says:

    Car­olyn said: “What a hor­ri­ble restora­tion! Did she remove the pret­ty final work and uncov­er an orig­i­nal con­cept that was nev­er meant to be seen?? I want to cry!!”

    NO!! It was the final work of the painter that WAS PAINTED OVER — 300 YEARS LATER by anoth­er painter! The lat­er painter DESTROYED the orig­i­nal by paint­ing a fan­ta­sy Vic­to­ri­an face on top of the por­trait of Isabel­la de Medici!

  • Pling says:

    aba­cus wim­ber­ley said: “if you’re going to con­serve a piece, con­serve it. if you’re going to do an egre­gious amount of over­paint and just add details not orig­i­nal to the piece, make your own damn paint­ing.”

    Yes, so the con­ser­va­tor removed the extreme over­paint done by a bad vic­to­ri­an con­ser­va­tor and revealed the orig­i­nal paint­ing, the por­trait of Isabel­la de Medici.

  • Cheree' says:

    If you think that’s unfair, the true unfair­ness is that she was mur­dered by her hus­band, short­ly after the mur­der of her cousin Leono­ra, both by hus­bands, both with the approval of her broth­er, the head of the Medici fam­i­ly at the time. It is believed that her broth­er approved of the mur­ders due to the rumors of adul­tery sur­round­ing his sis­ter and cousin. The aspect of her lovers is rel­e­vant because no mat­ter if they were rumors or true, they are believed to have attrib­uted to her death. With that being said, for the time that she lives, espe­cial­ly dur­ing her father’s life­time, she had unprece­dent­ed con­trol and pow­er over for a woman of Flo­rence. Despite the cru­el end it would seem as if she enjoyed her life and lived most­ly free from her hus­band’s oppres­sion, and poor finan­cial deci­sions.

  • Simcha B says:

    It appears the restor­er put her­self into the paint­ing.
    The ear,the eyes look­ing in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion.
    I like the dirty girl.

  • Flora Kresine says:

    I don’t under­stand. Isabelle was the wife of Pao­lo Gior­dano Ordi­ni, Duke Brac­ciano.
    The ear­ly mod­ern drama­tist John Web­ster wrote à high­ly cel­e­brat­ed play enti­tled The White Dev­il. I saw the play when it was per­formed in the Globe The­atre. It was bril­liant !

  • Flora Kresine says:

    I mean Orsi­ni.

  • Flora Kresine says:

    The name id not Ordi­ni but Orsi­ni.
    Wrong spelling

  • Murnia says:

    Did you read the arti­cle? The dain­ty pret­ty face was paint­ed over the orig­i­nal. That work was removed to reveal the orig­i­nal work. It’s not ruined, it’s restored. If you don’t like the orig­i­nal work, don’t look at it.

  • Jb says:

    How awful. How did her head get big­ger? Please hit Ctrl Z and undo it.

  • Nikki sierra says:

    Amen Although I do love a good bad girl 😉

  • think says:

    This is a van­dal­ism, a ruin of the price­less paint­ing, a crime. All who com­mis­sioned this, super­vised this, exe­cut­ed this are liable. Prac­tice your tal­ent­less “restora­tions” with your own mate­ri­als and not the for­mal­ly price­less orig­i­nals. The “restora­tion” is almost hate­ful, like the “restor­er” killed the mem­o­ry of the face of this girl. Shame on you. No amount of arti­cles spin­ning this fluke in a pos­i­tive light would ever help.

  • Michele says:

    I com­plete­ly agree with Rick. Her youth and human­i­ty was tak­en away-replaced by a mid­dle aged scrooge. I can’t believe the dis­re­spect for the orig­i­nal artist’s ren­di­tion. The orig­i­nal is ruined

  • Lashon says:

    Idc if you think the woman was ugly in her time but this isn’t “restor­ing” they com­plete­ly changed the face.
    In my opin­ion that’s just ter­ri­ble and they ruined it. I will nev­er stand by some­one who fix­es some­one’s art work dead or Alive like this.
    And it being his­toric makes it even worse.
    No one is gonna look at that paint­ing now.

  • Sharleen Hargreaves says:

    I think that she removed the painter’s final revi­sion of his paint­ing down to a pre­vi­ous paint­ing. Not as beau­ti­ful. I don’t think the artist want­ed that one to show. I feel like it was a mis­take to do that. Very sad. I love the look of old world paint­ings.

  • Kenneth says:

    Absolute­ly ruined a great paint­ing. All pati­na removed, stripped of depth, col­or and dimen­sion. Hor­ri­ble!! Art con­ser­va­tor my ass!

  • Caroline says:

    Paint­ing con­ser­va­tor here. And Rick is SO SO wrong. The con­ser­va­tor who worked on the por­trait did exact­ly the right thing via the paint­ing. Remov­ing the old over­paint which was com­plete­ly cov­er­ing the orig­i­nal fea­tures. Basi­cal­ly, the Vic­to­ri­an era over­paint­ing was equiv­a­lent of a cur­rent con­ser­va­tor repaint­ing over an old­er paint­ing and retouch­ing with the fea­tures with an appeal­ing face with the fea­tures of a Kim Kar­dasian, or sim­i­lar beau­ty of the era. The Vic­to­ri­an face is an ide­alised ver­sion of a ‘beau­ti­ful woman’ from the Vic­to­ri­an per­spec­tive. It is NOT how a 15th or 16th cen­tu­ry paint­ing should look, nor does it rep­re­sent a the fea­tures, or a por­trait of an indi­vid­ual woman and how she was pre­sent­ed in 15th of 16th cen­tu­ry. Take your 21st cen­tu­ry blink­ers off. Look at the orig­i­nal ver­sion and appre­ci­ate the nuance, fea­tures and incred­i­ble detail the con­ser­va­tor has uncov­ered and thank your lucky stars there are well trained con­ser­va­tors who can ‘see’ through the dross of the over­paint, and uncov­er the real­i­ty of the orig­i­nal ver­sion.

    The sec­ond Vic­to­ri­an ver­sion is like a Pears soap por­trait or Gib­son girl and com­plete­ly inap­pro­pri­ate to be on a pan­el paint­ing por­trait from 15/16th cen­tu­ry. Well done Con­ser­va­tor! A fab­u­lous job. Plau­dits from a peer con­ser­va­tor.

  • Jennifer says:

    Look in the mir­ror, sister…are YOUR eyes per­fect­ly aligned? Most peo­ple’s are not. The most attrac­tive peo­ple have asym­met­ri­cal facial fea­tures. Even you.

  • Robyn says:

    First… To Karen, regard­ing your prob­lem with the eyes not being aligned… I mean did you ever stop and think that the actu­al wom­an’s eyes were not aligned on her face I mean I have one side of my face that is low­er than the oth­er side of my face my eyes are not aligned my ears are not aligned my smile is not aligned it’s not sym­met­ri­cal I smile much big­ger on one side of my face than the oth­er side will so that’s prob­a­bly why just say­ing also the look on her face to every­one that thinks she looks bit­ter and mugged up that’s prob­a­bly her nat­ur­al face that’s prob­a­bly the way this woman looked when she was rest­ing her face there is a thing called rest­ing bitch face par­don my lan­guage that is just some peo­ple’s nat­ur­al rest­ing face when noth­ing is wrong and they are con­tent they just look mad but they’re not so just things to think about.

    And yes please every­one that thinks that this per­son destroyed the paint­ing by tak­ing the abom­i­na­tion off which yes it was pret­ti­er ver­sion but like just in mag­a­zines today the fil­ters the air­brush­ing the pho­to­shop­ping that is not what these peo­ple real­ly look like in real life today they do that these peo­ple don’t look that good this woman did­n’t look that good women and men of that time did not look as ele­gant­ly pret­ty and dain­ty as every­one thinks prob­a­bly it’s a much hard­er life back then a much hard­er time and peo­ple’s faces are not always super­mod­el beau­ti­ful I find that to be more beau­ti­ful than all of the pho­to­shops and all of the fil­ters and all of the restora­tions real­ness actu­al beau­ty is what is not what is cre­at­ed if that makes sense any­way yes I know this is one big run on because I am using talk to text because I hate typ­ing

  • Heather says:

    “Doomed Par­ty Girl”? Was it real­ly nec­es­sary to the sto­ry to con­de­scend her impor­tant impact on Flo­ren­tine his­to­ry?

  • B..Junge says:

    I agree with you.
    The per­son that did the re lin­er of wood to can­vas did the changes to the orig­i­nal por­trait. After reread­ing
    arti­cle at that point under­stood.
    No restora­tion artist would alter a face to this extent unless there was a sol­id rea­son. It’s such a priv­i­lege to do this type of work.

  • Becky says:

    Anoth­er sto­ry where a woman dies attempt­ing to live with the same free­dom of men in her class. The tone if this arti­cle is clear­ly unsym­pa­thet­ic towards her. Lest we for­get! Only men can appar­ent­ly can have fun!

  • Marie says:

    She was pret­ti­er in the before, her nose is longer, eyes have bags under them. She looks old and tired. Before, her looks fit her per­son­al­i­ty.

  • Marta Gentile says:

    Total­ly agree with you.

  • Ashley says:

    That is the orig­i­nal paint­ing… the pre­vi­ous face is an over­paint­ing (a cov­er up) by anoth­er artist decades lat­er. Abom­i­na­tion? That is her face paint­ed while she was alive.

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