Entertainment & Arts

'Lost' painting by Charles Le Brun for Louis XIV restored

Experts working on Christ in the Garden of Olives, Le Brun, 1660 (detail) Image copyright Louvre-Lens
Image caption A team of experts have been working on the restoration of the 1660 work

A 17th Century painting by French artist Charles Le Brun, believed lost for almost two centuries, is being restored to its former glory.

Christ in the Garden of Olives was bought by the Sun King, Louis XIV, for his palace at Versailles in 1695.

It was sent to the Louvre in 1817 and then to a monastery, where it was rediscovered in 2008 in a poor state.

It will return to the Paris museum after the completion of restoration work at its sister site in Lens.

Image copyright Louvre-Lens
Image caption Christ in the Garden of Olives was "very dirty" when it was found, the museum said

The circular work, which has a diameter of 142cm (56ins), was painted by Le Brun in 1660.

The artist held the title of first painter to Louis XIV and the king stated in a letter the "excellence" of his works "outshine those of the famous painters of the last centuries".

Following the French Revolution, the painting was moved to the Louvre and then subsequently sent to the Abbaye de La Trappe, in the Orne region.

Image copyright Louvre-Lens
Image caption The restoration is being carried out in view of the public at the Lens museum

A spokesman for the museum said it was an "exceptional work" which had been "very dirty" when it was found at the monastery.

The restoration, which is being carried out in public view at the Lens museum until 12 August, has involved cleaning the paint, repairing the canvas and frame and putting on a new varnish.

It will go on display at the Paris museum in November.

Image copyright Studio S├ębert
Image caption A different version of the painting is on display in Lens

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