Lambert Sustris (Italian, ca. 1515–after 1560) The Circle of False Education from the Tabula Cebetis (before and after conservation treatment) Oil on canvas, 65 1/2 x 138 ¼” Gift of Charles M. Pratt, 1917.1.11

Today’s post comes from Delphine Douglas, class of 2018 and Art Center Multimedia Student Assistant.

In 1917 the Art Center received a large canvas by Lambert Sustris, a sixteenth-century Netherlandish artist transplanted to the Veneto. Painted around 1540, it depicts “The Circle of False Education,” an obstacle to human progress described in the Tabula Cebetis, a first-century text. It couldn’t be exhibited in the Loeb due to its poor condition, and its restoration was thought to be impossible. However, Sandra Webber of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center accepted the challenge, and the restored painting was recently returned to the Art Center where it’s now on view. Because the work is so large (65 1/2 x 138 1/4 inches) and weighs well over 100 pounds, the Collections Management department designed and fabricated a customized a wooden jig and used multiple lifts to put the painting in place on the wall last month. We captured part of the installation process on video.

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