Approaches to the reintegration of paint loss: theory and practice in the conservation of easel paintings

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Muir, Kim;


Reviews in Conservation, Volume 10, p.19-28 (2009)


This paper presents a review of the literature on the theory and practice of retouching in easel paintings conservation. Focusing on texts from the early twentieth century to the present, the practical and theoretical development of the three principal approaches to loss compensation are traced: imitative reintegration, visible retouching, and no reintegration. Consideration of the philosophical underpinnings and cultural influences that have shaped each approach provides some context for the methodologies discussed. Special attention is given to the connection between retouching issues and the development of conservation principles, as well as the significant role that art historians have played in guiding restoration theory and practice.