This handsomely illustrated volume traces the intersections of art history and paintings restoration in nineteenth-century Europe.
Repairing works of art and writing about them-the practices that became art conservation and art history-share a common ancestry. By the nineteenth century the two fields had become inseparably linked. While the art historical scholarship of this period has been widely studied, its restoration practices have received less scrutiny-until now.
This book charts the intersections between art history and conservation in the treatment of Italian Renaissance paintings in nineteenth-century Europe. Initial chapters discuss the restoration of works by Giotto and Titian, framed by the contemporary scholarship of art historians such as Jacob Burckhardt, G. B. Cavalcaselle, and Joseph Crowe that was redefining the earlier age. Subsequent chapters recount how paintings conservation was integrated into museum settings. The narrative uses period texts, unpublished archival materials, and historical photographs in probing how paintings looked at a time when scholars were writing the foundational texts of art history, and how, simultaneously, contemporary restorers were negotiating the appearances of these works. The book proposes a model for a new conservation history, object focused yet enriched by consideration of a wider cultural horizon.