'The conversion of St. Paul', at the Museum of Catalonia
The painting, recently attributed by the Museum's experts to Juan Bautista Maíno and restored, is exhibited in one of the rooms of the permanent collection
For more than six months, the MNAC's technicians have worked together to recover this work, which was badly damaged in 1985 in a fire. In that days, the painting was attributed to the Valencian painter José Vergara (1726 - 1799) but now the experts have been able to identify the true author: Juan Bautista Maíno (1581-1649). This painter, who has left very few works -no more than 44- is a key figure for understanding 17th-century Spanish painting. He was one of the introducers of Caravaggio in our country.
The conversion of St. Paul has formed part of the Museum's collection since 1952. There have always been doubts about its authorship. However, in view of the obvious stylistic, compositional and figurative similarities between other Maino's works and that painting, it has been possible to attribute it to the painter.
The work was badly damaged after the fire. It had blisters, substantial losses of paint layers and unfortunate repainting. Someone had also changed its format. One strip had been cut from the top of the canvas and another one had been added at the base.It was in 1945 when it was decided to put a new canvas. The date was given a piece of the newspaper La Prensa.
The Conversion of St. Paul is now exhibited in one of the rooms of the museum, with a sketch, from a private collection, a x-ray of the painting, showing its condition before the restoration, and a video, that explains the restoration process.
The restoration was made possible thanks to sponsorship of BNP Paribas and its Foundation, which has enabled to participate in more than 200 restoratios of the museum.
Exposed to the end of September 2012. MPR
Juan Bautista Maíno. The Conversion of St. Paul. Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña.