The Easel

Does Art Restoration Risk Erasing the Past?

Why are art conservators so, well, conservative? Conservation science can offer damaged works new life. Therein lies a profound dilemma. What voice should we give an artwork – one that is blemished but faithful to its moment in history or one that is more attractive but less authentic? Observes one curator (referring to Notre Dame cathedral) “You cannot keep everything … [its] just the course of history”.