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History of the Restoration and Conservation of Works of Art

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At times controversial and uncompromising, always intellectually honest, Alessandro Conti’s book is - astonishingly – the only attempt to comprehensively chart in time, the changing impact of man’s desire to preserve for future generations the materials, meaning and appearances of works of art. Remarkable in its meticulous research of source material and breadth of scope, History of the Restoration and Conservation of Works of Arts, translated by Helen Glanville, charts the practices and underlying philosophies of conservation and ‘restored’ works of art from the Middle Ages to the end of the nineteenth century.

In English-speaking countries, a lack of foreign language skills leaves many unable to consult a wealth of both published and unpublished historical documentation. Developments in conservation have therefore tended toward the scientific and analytical. Access to such documentation leads to better understanding of the present appearance of works of art and of their changing aspect and perception over time. Recent publications indicate that there is a great need for people writing on the subject to be aware of material which is not in their mother tongue: approaches presented as ‘new’ are in fact merely ‘contemporary’, and have been discussed or practiced in other centuries and countries.

Just as knowledge of practices and effects of art conservation and restoration should form an integral part of History of Art Degrees, the more theoretic, abstract and historical aspects, should also be part of the training. This book is an invaluable source for academic and public institutions, art historians as well as practicing conservators and lovers of art.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780750669535
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/22/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Conti (Florence 1946 - Siena 1994). Art historian and academic, passionately involved with conservation and restoration from his earliest days, he was one of the few art historians able to move with ease across the centuries. He taught History and Techniques of Restoration at the University of Bologna for many years, before going on to teach the History of Modern Art at the Universitá Statale in Milan, finally moving to the University of Siena where he taught the History of Art Criticism. He died a few days after completing his Manuale del Restauro (Einaudi 1996, 2001) which does not deal with the mechanical aspects of the processes involved as the title might suggest, but attempts to look at the problems within a broader cultural and political context

Brought up in Italy before reading Modern Languages at Somerville College, Oxford. Practicing conservator, having trained at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, she works in both France and England. She has taught the scientific and perceptual aspects of paintings and their conservation as well as the philosophical aspects involved to both art-historians and conservators at the Sorbonne and at University College London and has published widely. Currently teaching at the State Academy of Fine Art in Tbilisi, Georgia and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

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Table of Contents

Preface, Introductory essay, Translator's note, Acknowledgements, Towards restoration, Conservation of works of art in the sixteenth century, Some local traditions in Italy, Gallery pictures, Eighteenth century restorations in Italy and France, Venice and Pietro Edwards, From the eighteenth to the nineteenth century, Restoration from the Academies to Romanticism, Restoration in Italy after the Unification, Final essay by Massimo Ferretti, Bibliography, Index of names, Index of place names and works, Glossary of technical terms (with diagrams)

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