16th century Lambert Sustris painting returns to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center following extensive restoration; will be on view beginning October 20, 2015

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center announces the re-exhibition of the Lambert Sustris painting, The Circle of False Education from the Tabula Cebetis. The painting was recently returned to the Art Center after an eighteen-month restoration effort at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in Massachusetts.

A gift to the college in 1917, The Circle of False Education was inspired by the Tabula Cebetis, a text by an anonymous author of the first century, that describes an image in the Temple of Chronos in Athens or Thebes where the story of human progress is presented in concentric circles filled with obstacles. Sustris, who was born in Amsterdam around 1515-1520, spent most of his career in Italy and Southern Europe and this painting was once attached to a palace wall in Venice.

The painting was unexhibitable for many years owing to its poor condition. “Its rejuvenation was thought by some to be an impossible task but the challenge was taken on by Sandra Webber of Williamstown,” says James Mundy, Anne Hendricks Bass Director of the Art Center. The restoration required a two-phase approach. Phase one consisted of cleaning the surface, which was obscured by varnish and blanching. The second phase involved the reconstruction of the image, including removal of certain compositional elements such as the mountains in the left and right backgrounds, which appear to have been added during a previous restoration.

“The result is a dramatic restoration of the original colors,” Mundy explains. “We are thrilled to have this painting back in such excellent condition.”

The painting will be on view beginning October 20.

About the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center was founded in 1864 as the Vassar College Art Gallery. The current 36,400-square-foot facility, designed by Cesar Pelli and named in honor of the new building's primary donor, opened in 1993. Vassar was the first U.S. college founded with a permanent art collection and gallery, and at any given time, the Permanent Collection Galleries of the Art Center feature approximately 350 works from Vassar's extensive collections. The Art Center's collections chart the history of art from antiquity to the present and comprise over 20,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and glass and ceramic wares.  Notable holdings include the Warburg Collection of Old Master prints, an important group of Hudson River School paintings given by Matthew Vassar at the college's inception, and a wide range of works by major European and American 20th-century painters.


Admission to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is free and all galleries are wheelchair accessible.  The Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10:00am–5:00pm; Thursday, 10:00am–9:00pm; and Sunday, 1:00–5:00pm.  Located at the entrance to the historic Vassar College campus, the Art Center can be reached within minutes from other Mid-Hudson cultural attractions, such as Dia:Beacon, the Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt national historic sites and homes, and the Vanderbilt mansion.  For additional information, the public may call (845) 437-5632 or visit

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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, October 13, 2015