On Monday, June 9, a 16th century painting owned by Lebanon Valley College arrived at the Suzanne H. Arnold Center for Breast Health at Lancaster General Hospital where it was examined by Dr. Nitin Tanna, division chief of breast imaging at Lancaster Radiology Associates. The painting was then radiographed for further analysis in the radiology department of Suburban Outpatient Pavilion of Lancaster General Health.
The painting, attributed to Paris Bordone, a student of Titian, is a copy of Titian’s famous lost masterpiece “The Martyrdom of St. Peter Martyr.” The original was commissioned and installed in the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice in 1530 but was destroyed in a fire in 1867. A full scale copy painted in 1691 by Carlos Loth now hangs in its place. The painting was given to the College in 1966 by Mrs. Thomas Sydney Quinn, wife of the co-founder of Lebanon Steel Company and is currently being researched to determine its provenance and the authenticity of its attribution.
Radiography of paintings can help reveal information about the materials and techniques used in the making, often showing composition changes (pentimenti) and underdrawings, says John Hartmann of Hartmann Conservation Services Inc., who is currently cleaning and documenting the work of art. The painting, measuring approximately 46” x 33”, was too large to be x-rayed in one picture so was scanned in 12 parts that will be pieced together and studied for information. Nancy Nice, supervisor of diagnostic imaging at LGH, Suburban Outpatient Pavilion, Dr. Tanna and Hartmann conferred on optimal settings for the equipment. This was the first time for a painting to be a patient at LGH.
The Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery at Lebanon Valley College will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Sept. 26.
Located in a 1868 former church, the gallery hosts six exhibitions yearly. Its mission is to host a broad range of museum quality art exhibitions; the Gallery’s permanent collection of artwork serves as teaching tools to the art and art history department and other departments on campus.