The Art of Art Restoration

Art restoration is an important aspect of conserving important pieces of artwork, stabilizing artwork that may be degrading or recreating a found piece of art that is damaged. Restoration is not always a straightforward endeavor. Restoration of artwork is often considered art in and of itself. Many types of artwork can be restored. Different establishments dedicated to restoration of art tend to specialize in various types of media including photography, paintings, frames, stone, marble, lacquer, wood, ivory, paper mache, plaster, and cloisonné.

Art restoration is different from art conservation, which typically tries to treat artwork with minimally invasive and reversible restorative materials. Restorers are often artisans who apprenticed with a master restorer in order to learn their trade. They attempt to make the art look as authentic as possible without regard to using agents that may or may not be reversible. The main thrust is that the artwork that is degrading or in need of restoration is restored to a state that closely resembles the original.

Art, by its very nature, will disintegrate over time. When this happens, the art will lose its value. The point of art restoration is to not only restore the art, but to restore its value. It is important that an artisan with experience perform this work. A painting that has suffered the ravages of time will likely need careful cleaning to rid the canvas or wood of mold spores, mildew and other dirt and dust that embeds into the ancient paint. Mold and mildew can actually accelerate damage to the paint pigments, rendering the painting unworkable. The artisan will begin work on the painting by removing these organisms and then by removing any damaged pigment and other chemicals that result from degradation. They will then carefully replace the damaged pigments and attempt to duplicate or bring out the original palette of colors. After restoration of a painting, the artisan will typically coat the painting in a protective substance so that the restoration will last without discoloration or flaking.

Interestingly, some frames are pieces of art and are worth more than the paintings they frame! Just as anything else that is stored or displayed for a period of time, frames may need to be restored. While frames can be very beautiful, it is not often that their restoration is more difficult than an intricate painting. Restoration of frames often involves cleaning, reinforcement, replacement of missing elements and repainting.

Photographic restoration is a very different type of art. Digital techniques have revolutionized this art. Even though one can restore their own photos using an expensive scanner and photo editing software, it is still best to put the restoration in the hands of a professional for the best results.

Sculpture, porcelain and ceramic restoration require specialized appliances, ovens and tools as well as professional training in order to restore an item, stabilize it and preserve it. Even degraded wood can be preserved by a professional and be made to look as if the item was never damaged. Lacquer and cloisonné restoration is tedious, slow work, although professionals trained in these materials will produce amazing results.

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Comments 4 comments

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

Thanks to these great artist that history arts can be restore , look as good as original. Very well written hub. Like it. Voted useful

Dbro profile image

Dbro 3 years ago from Texas, USA

Very interesting hub, Better Yourself! As an artist,I hope my work is deemed worth preservation and restoration someday. Our art should be precious to our society and must be preserved or else we will lose an important part of who we are. Thanks for this informative article.

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Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you Dbro! Glad you enjoyed the hub and I have come across your hubs as well and am a fan!

Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank You peachpurple! It's an amazing talent to restore artwork!

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