Museum Conservation Original Intent vs. Time

School: Emory University           Price: $10.00 USD

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Art History 387 Conservation: This 4-page double spaced essay discusses the dilemma conservators face when they approach a painting damaged by time. With sources cited, the essay suggests that historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, curators, and conservators must work together in order to decide how to approach and perhaps "fix" the damages that have been inflicted on a piece of art.

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Original Intent vs. TimeOne of the greatest difficulties conservators have encountered in addressing apainting that requires cleaning, is how they should approach the inevitable changes thathave been inflicted over the course of time. This decision and process, is a matter of deepand enduring controversy, (Hedley 52) because of the objective but necessary distinctionbetween losses, such as faded pigmentation, as well as culturally valued changes, accordingto Gerry Hedley.In Hedleys article, Long Lost Relations and New Found Relativities: Issues In theCleaning of Paintings, he discusses the importance of constructing a relationship withoriginal intent as well as time. When a painting has experienced damage, whether it is fromphysical loss or discoloration, it is impossible to faithfully replicate the artists originalobjective in the conservation process. As a result, the conservator strives to develop asatisfactory balance within the work, representing individual aspects of what the artistwished to achieve in the process of creation, as well as to define the relationship betweenthe piece and the natural effect that time has had on its life history. In
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