This summer, the triptych altar painting in St. Mark’s Belmont Chapel is being carefully restored. This restoration is made possible by the existence of the John Leslie Breck Art Fund, a St. Mark’s endowed fund designated to support artwork and the arts at St. Mark’s.
The triptych is a reproduction of Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna and Child with Four Saints, painted by renowned Russian artist Nicholas Lochoff. The altar piece was commissioned in 1920 as a memorial to George Alexander McKinlock Jr,, SM Class of 1912, who had been killed in action during the First World War. It was painted by renowned Russian artist Nicholas Lochoff (1872-1948). Bellini’s original resides in the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa de Frari in Venice.
The restoration work is being done by Peter Williams Museum Services out of Boston. The cost of the restoration will be borne by the School’s John Leslie Breck Art Fund. John Leslie Breck was a member of the Class of 1877 at St. Mark’s. After graduating at 17, he travelled to Europe, where he studied art in both Munich and Paris. He became a protégé of Claude Monet, and his 1890 solo exhibition at the Botolph Club in Boston is credited with introducing the French Impressionist style to the American art world. He was always grateful to his St. Mark’s French instructor, William Edward Peck, who by 1890 was the School’s Headmaster. As St. Mark’s was moving into its new building, that same year Breck donated one of his larger impressionist canvases to his alma mater.
In 1988-89, the Breck canvas was discovered in the basement of the St. Mark’s main building. It was sold, and the proceeds were added to an earlier Art Restoration Fund to establish and endow the John Leslie Breck Fund. Recently, the Breck Fund has covered the cleaning and conserving of the School’s dining hall portraits and the preservation and protection of various stained glass windows around campus. The restoration of the Belmont Chapel altar piece will once again bring to life the original painting as it was meant to be seen.
For more photos of the restoration project in process, please go to link below