We wish to thank everyone who took the time to read about the Hobbema hunter and offered a point of view via their vote and comments. Votes closed at 54% to 46% against masking the hunter. We are always interested to hear what you think! For curators and conservators, these are familiar issues, but are not necessarily ones about which our visitors are aware. Erika Holmquist-Wall, Assistant Paintings Curator, notes that “it was an innovative way to present new research on the painting. The digital technology that allowed us to view the two options created a great dialogue about some of the more challenging decisions that curators face.”
The final decision on whether the hunter stayed or not was made by the paintings curators: they decided to mask the figure for aesthetic reasons. Patrick Noon, Chair of Paintings at the MIA, said, “The picture is transformed without the later figure and the landscape becomes luminous and open.” He also noted that the later figure wasn’t even in the costume of the time of the original painting, and that it was a 19th-century intrusion. The process is 100% reversible.
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