Our paintings conservator has posted about this painting a few times before. The large Neapolitan still-life is now at the inpainting stage, where losses and damages are being retouched. One of the major elements that needs to be covered is the mysterious head of a man who looms above the basket of bread. He likely was first painted out by the artist when the canvas was repurposed for the still-life. Later, the original paint that once covered him was scrubbed away. Now our conservator is painting over him with custom conservation paints that have been tested for stability. The paint will be easy to remove in the future, if our man needs to reappear.
Here he is going:
This is only the first course of inpainting. It’s likely that this area will need further adjustment as the painting’s conservation treatment progresses. We’ll keep you posted.
Unidentified Neapolitan artist (Italian, active 17th century), Still Life with Game, oil on canvas, Bequest of Frieda Hauck by exchange, 1956.10