Frieze of Angels, detail showing canvas texture

Current assessment of the 1953 restoration

The effects of the 1953 cleaning vary considerably from one mural to the next, in part because the restorers failed to take note of Sargent‘s inconsistent painting technique. They used harsh cleaning solutions indiscriminately on the murals, causing significant damage to the more fragile areas. In Frieze of Angels, for example, which is thinly painted and under-bound, the cleaning solutions abraded the oil paint down to the canvas.
Frieze of Angels, detail showing canvas texture exposed by previous cleanings, particularly above the head (1999 photo)
The Triumph of Religion