Museum Home Research and Conservation An In-Depth Look at Conservation Partnerships Shedding New Light: Frans Hals, Lucas de Clercq and Feyna van Steenkiste

Scientific Analysis
Lucas de Clercq and Feyna van Steenkiste / Hals

Seen under ultraviolet light, the varnish (which appears as a yellowish haze), evenly covers the surfaces of the paintings.

Lucas de Clercq and Feyna van Steenkiste were also examined using X-radiography, which clearly showed the contrast in the canvas weave density.


The x-ray views revealed that both paintings had received a coating on the back of the canvas (visible as an overall white cast), very early in their histories (possibly as early as the late 1600s), while the canvases were attached to their original wood strainer. This strongly suggests that the portraits had been restored at the same time using the same method, and thus strengthens the likelihood that they are a pair.

The early conservation treatment, together with Hals's selection of a rougher canvas for Lucas de Clercq, his broader brushwork and thinner paint for that likeness, may have contributed to the condition issues that were encountered.

This conservation treatment brings the appearance of the portraits as close as possible to that intended by the artist, shedding new light on Lucas and Feyna as well as Hals's painting techniques.