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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The Return of the Monk

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Alte Nationalgalerie / Berlin / Art

Despite being two of the best known works of German Romanticism, Caspar David Friedrich’s The Monk by the Sea and The Abbey in the Oakwood suffered severe deterioration over the last two centuries due to neglect, historical reconstructions, and the artist’s own fragile brushwork. In May of 2013, the Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin set to work restoring both paintings, a project that would span almost three years. This virtual exhibition guides viewers through the painstaking work of restoration and the discoveries made along the way. Photographing cross-sections of each canvas, using infra-red light to reveal underdrawings, the conservators were able to illuminate Friedrich’s delicate process while also bringing these stunning works back to their former glory. —C.J.F.

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Alte Nationalgalerie Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
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