During conservation of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, (also called Our Lady of Częstochowa) painting from the church of St Urban in Hecznarowice a second painting was revealed under the surface of the paint, also depicting the Black Madonna.
After removing the painting from the wooden framework in shape of a decorative dress the conservators discovered a large portion of the painting of the Black Madonna. X-ray imaging of the painting also revealed that the artwork was painted over several times. The oldest painting is believed to have been created in 17th century, than in the beginning of the 19th century, and finally in the beginning of the 20th century.
The crown of the Black Madonna revealed a depiction of a crown. It is an adornment that was gifted to the original painting in Częstochowa by king John II Casimir Vasa in 1635. The depiction varies from the original crown, as it contains the phrase “Sub Tuum praesidium” (Under your protection) and not “Tibi S. Maria” (For you, Saint Maria). According to the researchers, in 1717 the crown donated by king John was replaced by one given by pope Clemens XI, which allows to date the original painting from Hecznarowice to 17th century.
The conservation committee decided to return the painting to the second phase, dating to early 19th century. The conservation work is scheduled for one and half year, but it will be not possible to restore the original painting, as it would damage the present one. The original background of the painting is to be reconstructed and the wooden decorative dress will be repaired.
(after Nasze Miasto & Diecezja Bielsko-żywiecka)