Artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’ Philosophy panel, approximately 14’ x 7’ in size and 160 pounds, has been successfully restored and returned to its location on the walls of the grand staircase in the McKim building at the Central Library in Copley Square. This section of the Chavannes’ mural was conserved using an unprecedented innovative technique and returned to its alcove after months of careful restoration. The ambitious procedure has rarely been attempted on a marouflage canvas, as artwork adhered in this way is not expected to be removed once permanently affixed to its backing structure.
“Preserving Boston’s dynamic arts and culture will always be an important part of our city’s heritage,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Visitors at the Central Library can once again enjoy the Pierre Puvis de Chavannes mural in its entirety. I welcome all to visit the mural, and see a great work of art in Boston.”
French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes is considered one of the preeminent European artists of the 19th century, and the Central Library contains his only mural installation outside of France. Philosophy is one of eight allegorical scenes – each depicting an academic discipline – that surround the Central Library’s grand staircase. Other panels in the cycle include Astronomy, History, Chemistry, Physics, Pastoral Poetry, Dramatic Poetry, and Epic Poetry. A ninth, broader panel flanks the entrance to Bates Hall and depicts “The Muses of Inspiration Welcoming the Spirit of Light.” (more…)