How the Ghent Altarpiece was restored: a complete visual explanation by Adolfo Arranz

This story is about the most recent restoration of Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, also known as the Ghent Altarpiece. We received high resolution images of this world’s most stolen artwork from the reporter and decided to take the opportunity to dig deeper into this fascinating piece of art.

In order to understand how it’s restored from layers of repaint over the years, we decided not only showing how experts transform the paintings in the modern ways, we also added the process of how the masterpiece was made in the old days: starting from picking the right pieces of wood as canvas to how the painter make their own oil painting. Giving the readers a visual story from the perspective of artists from two very different eras: 15th century painter of the Altarpiece and the modern restoration artist. It’s a story tying artists 500 years apart together.

The classic Ghent Altarpiece itself is the focal point of this project, so we put multiple before-and-after comparison sliders to connect the entire story, adding digital illustration visualisation subtly in between that matches the look and feel of the Altarpiece to explain the painting and restoring process humbly and harmoniously.

We also intend to tell the story in the most digestible and direct way, using only simple interactive commands to provoke readers' curiosity without distracting their attention from any fancy animation and navigation.