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Restoration of the Isenheim Altarpiece

The Isenheim altarpiece is going to be restored

See the first images of restoration at the France 3 Alsace website


The Isenheim altarpiece is the Unterlinden museum's main attraction and has brought the museum international renown. The masterpiece of two masters of the late gothic period (1512-1516): Matthias Grünewald for the painted panels and Nicolaus de Haguenau for the sculpted portion. The restoration consists of thinning down the varnish and the extrication of any maladroit repainted areas. This process will take place over a three year period (2011-2013).

In 2011, the restoration of the Isenheim altarpiece began in the museum's chapel (the room of the altarpiece) from July 6-10 (the restoration of the panel aith the Agression of St. Anthony), then in spring 2012 moved to the Dominican church located 200m from the museum due to the work taking place around the museum for its expansion project. During the restoration, the altarpiece will remain visible every day during the museum's open hours. The restorers, Carole Juillet and Florence Meyerfield, will restore one panel at a time without disturbing the overall viewing of the piece.



The Fondation du patrimoine granted 100.000 euros to the Société Schongauer, the museum's administrative association, for the restoration of the Isenheim altarpiece. A patronage agreement was signed on Thursday APril 28, 2011 at 5p.m. at the Unterlinden museum by Charles de Croisset, president of the Fondation du Patrimoine, and Jean Lorentz, president of the Société Schongauer, in the presence of Pierre Goetz, regional delegate of Alsace's Fondation du Patrimoine and Gilbert Meyer, Mayor of the City of Colmar.



Click here to watch the footage by France 3 Alsace


Restoration of the Isenheim Altarpiece

Grünewald, Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons, 1512 - 1516, Mixed media (oil and tempera) on limewood panels, musée Unterlinden, Colmar