Holy Family depicts the Madonna and Christ Child, as well as the infant
St. John the Baptist and two other figures thought to be St. Elizabeth, John's mother, and St. Joseph.
Conservators originally presumed that Mantegna executed this painting in a water-based technique called
tüchlein, however, careful analysis revealed that the Holy Family is actually a tempera
and oil-based painting. When the painting arrived at the Museum, it was buried beneath many layers of
severely discolored varnish. After removal of the obscuring varnish, it was discovered that the faces of the
Madonna and Christ Child, as well as the Madonna's blue cloak, had been heavily repainted, all of which
severely affected the painting's appearance. Further cleaning was undertaken to remove this overpainting,
though conservators were careful to cease cleaning when they felt that no improvements could come from
further paint removal. Schölzel then began painstakingly matching paint colors and retouching areas
of loss, gradually returning the painting to a re-unified state.