Museum of Fine Arts Houston discovers it owns a Diego Velázquez painting

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Next time you go to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, keep your eyes on the lookout for an early 17th century painting.

During a recent restoration treatment, curators realized it wasn't just any old piece of work, but way more significant than they thought.

This painting appears dark and melancholy, but recently its true light was discovered.

For years, it wasn't a major display, but Friday morning it received a new home.

"Because it hadn't been closely studied, it actually was hanging in one of our museum houses in Rienzi, but not in a prominent position, so I think many people who went through Rienzi didn't know it was," says Dr. Zahira Veliz Bomford, senior conservator of paintings

The painting might actually be the work of the venerable Spanish Old Master Diego Velázquez, who was admired in the art world.

"He's really showing us a kind of subtle, sympathetic perception of a kind of underclass of society." says Veliz Bomford

The painting's recent restoration gives testament to the work Museum of Fine Arts Houston does.

Even though this one has been with them since the 1950s, a lot of time and precision had to go in to finding its true identity.

"It had a lot of heavy synthetic varnish that had begun to recover and discolor and become gray," says Veliz Bomford

'Kitchen Servant' is in great company. If you want to find her, you can do so in the Upper Gallery of the Beck building, specifically in the Spanish Colonial Paintings from the Thoma Collections. There are sculptures, small works of art, even large ones like this painting.

Follow Erica Simon on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.