Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Is For Art: The Altarpiece Early Stage



This week I started work on a new art project as the weather on Monday was so nice and warm that I could not pass up the opportunity to visit the lumber store and buy some wood. Now the weather has turned cold and I am drilling holes in the wood in my kitchen. I guess I can sweep up all the sawdust and put it in my next batch of meatloaf as a binder. Just kidding, I don't eat sawdust unless it has been aged in brandy. The altarpiece will be a case 42" in height and 29 1/2" in width. There will be 2 doors and they will swing open on 4 brass hinges. Friday I visited the Woodcraft store in Tri-County on Princeton Pike to see if I could find the right kind of hinges. Well, I found them with some help from a fellow named Dusty. Dusty is an appropriate name for a guy working in a Woodcraft store. These little brass hinges will permit me to continue with my plans as I originally drew them. There is just one minor problem. The hinge takes a board 3/4" thick and I am using 1/2" plywood, so, I will be creating what will look like a frame around the inside of the door out of 1/4 plywood. Cutting 1/4" plywood on my table saw outside in this weather will have to wait as there is snow on the ground here.

This week I was reading an old copy of The New Yorker magazine and came upon an article about the Ghent Altarpiece and its restoration. This magnificent piece was started in the early 1420s and finished in 1432. It was started by Hubert van Eyck and after he died, it was finished by his brother Jan van Eyck. If you google Ghent Altarpiece, you will see why it took around 10 years to finish. The article was mainly about the process of restoration and the methods used today as compared to the mistakes made years ago. I remember seeing an altarpiece at the Getty Museum in LA. Getty bought only the very best and he had the money to buy the very best. I remember the first time I saw this altarpiece and how impressed I was with the excellent condition it was in period. The piece looked like it had just come out of the workshop that built it.

I hope my altarpiece will not take 10 years as it is quite modest in size and while I enjoy taking my time with my art projects, I think it should be completed before the end of the year.

Stay tuned.

3 comments:

Robin said...

Sounds intriguing, I'll be looking forward to seeing the finished product.

We were in Ghent a few months ago but weren't able to make it to the Cathedral unfortunately.

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J. Kwiatkowski said...

This is so exciting! I love things in cabinets. It makes me think of relics and wet specimens in cloudy jars and Alice in Wonderland stuff. Squeee!

LceeL said...

I look forward to seeing the finished piece.