Researchers hope x-rays reveal secrets of Sittow's medieval altarpiece

A key work from Michel Sittow's (1469–1525) altarpiece exhibition in Tallinn's Niguliste Museum was x-rayed on Monday and researchers hope the images will show the medieval artwork's hidden layers.

The Bollnäs Holy Kinship altarpiece, likely created in Sittow's Tallinn workshop at the start of the 16th century, is on loan from Sweden.

On Monday, x-ray equipment borrowed from the Tax and Customs Board was used to peek beneath the paint.

The museum will now piece the images together and then historians will be able to study the altarpiece.

"In the case of sculptures, this is actually the only way to see inside the works," said Merike Kurisoo, Niguliste Museum's program manager and curator, adding the X-rays could not have been carried out so quickly in Sweden.

"In Estonia, we are agile and flexible and take advantage of different institutions' skills," she said.

Kurisoo said researchers will first look at how the work was made.

"How was it constructed and, if it goes very well, maybe we can get some new information on the base drawings," she told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

The exhibition "Michel Sittow in the North? Altarpieces in Dialogue" is open until November 5.


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Editor: Kaspar Viilup, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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