Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Look at Conservation

A few weeks back, this blog provided us with a neat view of the conservation process involved with drawings.  Paintings require similar, meticulous work in order to mitigate damage or "correct" inconsistencies that can occur over time. I regularly keep an eye out for articles addressing museum conservation practices as I find it fascinating (and a bit daunting) to know museum standards hold that any conservation treatment done to work of art should be reversible.  In addition, there is some controversy involved with attempts to "restore" art works to their "original" conditions considering it is not usually the hand of the artist who can make the necessary repairs.  Furthermore, the attribution of a work to a specific artist can change, or even be changed, at the hands of museum conservators.
from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
A recent article concerning renewed attribution involves the head of conservation at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Gianfranco Pocobene.  He recently conserved a Diego Velazquez (or is it?) portrait of Spain's Philip IV.  For a look at the Boston Globe article and embedded video concerning the portrait, click the link and see what you think!

1 comment:

Earl Grey said...

This story has been fascinating. It reminds me of the visit I recently took to the Taft Museum in Cincy. There is a wall of "fakes" near the famed Goya painting (which was believed to be a fake and then was re-attributed). They are located within a stone's throw of "real" paintings attributed to the "real" artists. It's interesting to wonder why a work is a Goya or not. We might like to think it's only apparent on the surface, but clearly it's much more than that!

Consider what these types of issues bring to collectors who purchase art, curators who care for the art, and conservators who are charged with literally working with and on the objects. As an art maker or art historian or both, what role does the sketch or "draft" play in your work? Years from now, if one of your works was uncovered, would we be able to attribute it to your hand? And, importantly, what do you think about conservation as part of regular collections care? Do you agree with it? Do you disagree with it? Why?