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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Museum of Fine Arts offers a new way to experience work

It is, to say the least, an unexpected way to treat a not-so-famous 377-year-old painting. But the Museum of Fine Arts has decided to use “The Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just,” a sprawling oil portrait by the Dutch artist Gerrit van Honthorst, in a new experiment.

The 10-by-15-foot painting has been put on view in the museum’s Loring Gallery accompanied by a nine-minute film created for the MFA. There’s also a lot to read. The gallery walls are covered in texts detailing the history of the painting, the museum’s extensive restoration of it — done over 18 months in full view of the public — and the lives of the characters who became Honthorst’s subjects. The painting is on long-term loan to the MFA by an anonymous donor.

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