The Isenheim Altarpiece

An exceptional restoration

This is set to be an unprecedented restoration, because the altarpiece is so highly renowned, but also because of the scale of the project, and you can follow it step by step.


Venerated then preserved by those responsible for it over the centuries, the altarpiece  has been the subject of numerous studies and restorations since the late 18th century. The most recent, conducted in 2013/2014, revealed a geneal build-up of dirt on the work, darkening of the varnish on the painted panels and flaking of the painted layer and the polychrome decoration of the scuptures. In light of this, the altarpiece requires a fundamental restoration.


Made possible by the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Société Schongauer, the Grand Est region, the Haut-Rhin department and a number of patrons, this major operation involves the mobilisation of considerable human, material and financial resources.


The works begin in 2018 with the sculptures, decorative elements and the corpus.

Ange (détail du Concert des Anges)
X-ray of the Concert of Angels panel (detail), photographs C2RMF




Ange (détail du Concert des Anges)


Wherever possible, the public will be able to observe every stage of the restorations, from cleaning to the retouching of the polychrome decoration. 

The consolidation of the painted panels and the frames will folllow, along with the restoration of the painted layer : this will reveal the vivacity of the colours, which have darkened significantly in their curent state. Whilst the prospect of a restorated altarpiece is already arousing a lot of excitement, we will have to exercise patience, because the restorers are predicting that this extraordinary operation will take four years.


To find out more about developments in the restoration, visit the museum or the website’s news section.

Musée Unterlinden - Place Unterlinden F-68000 Colmar - +33 (0)3 89 20 15 50