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Can This 'Marriage' Be Saved? : Louvre Mishap Is Latest Disaster to Befall Veronese's Renaissance Masterpiece

July 22, 1992|RONE TEMPEST | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Damage from the June 3 fall, she said, consisted of three major slashes, each about one meter (39 inches) in length in the lower right central area of the painting and one equally long indentation of the left central foreground.

"Honestly," said Volle, "the damage is not really that bad considering the size of the painting. Actually, we were lucky about the location of the cuts. It would have been a disaster if it had touched the sky (center background of the painting) because the paint is so thin there."

Today, the painting lies flat on its face in the Salle des Etats of the Louvre as a team of restorers, working like surgeons, attempt to resew the ripped canvas "thread by thread." The entry to the Salle des Etats is sealed and locked. Only a handful of museum officials are permitted entry.

DAMAGE CONTROL

The monumental masterpiece by Veronese, "Marriage at Cana," sustained damage in five places when the 22 x 32 1/2-foot painting fell during its rehanging June 3. Museum officials say restoration of the work, painted in 1563, will remove most traces of the damage.

Key to damage:

1. Deep indentation caused by support pillar

2,3,4. 39-inch slashes caused by broken support poles

5. Water damage during a June 1 rainstorm

Source: Louvre

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