An £8 million artwork by Claude Monet, all but destroyed when a man put his fist through it, is once again hanging where it belongs after a painstaking restoration.
The impressionist painting was ripped apart in a devastating three branch tear in June 2012 while it hung in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.
After a delicate 18-month restoration, Argenteuil Basin With A Single Sailboat, dating from 1874, has been restored to near its former glory and is back on the walls.
The tears on the canvas laid end to end would have been about a foot long in a painting less than four feet square.
Sean Rainbird, director of the National Gallery of Ireland, likened the meticulous repair to microscopic needlework.
“It was huge damage, shocking damage,” he said.
“This project to restore and conserve one of the gallery’s most popular impressionist works of art is testament to the outstanding expertise and dedication of our professional team of conservators.”
A man is awaiting trial over the vandalism.
The oil painting – the only Monet in Ireland’s national collection – is relatively small at 55cm by 65cm but regarded as a classic with its own significance.
It was painted at a time when Monet was using a boat as a floating studio on the Seine to paint scenes of the river and its banks.
It is now being housed behind protective glass – a low reflective, ultraviolet-filtered climate box with a humidity buffer.
Monet painted the scene in his own distinctive brushstroke style and contemporary colours in the same year that the first impressionist exhibition was held in Paris.
It depicts the shifting clouds, rippled water, golden leaves and a gliding yacht which gives a sense of transience.