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Restoring Old Paintings Is a Magical, Mesmerizing Process

Restoring Old Paintings Is a Magical, Mesmerizing Process

The next time you’re outside, take a look at things like fences and stone walkways. What you see probably isn’t how these things looked five or ten years ago, because over time, even without human interference, these things can change greatly in appearance. A fence’s paint will peel, stone will get covered in gunk. Thankfully, there are ways to restore these back to their former glory: paint the fence, power wash the walkway. Historical art is also subject to change due to environmental conditions, but restoring it is a bigger challenge. It’s tough to get years — sometimes centuries — of discoloration off a painting without compromising its structural and/or artistic integrity. That’s a topic we’ve covered on Nerdist before, but now there’s a new video that goes into greater depth about the fascinating subject (via LaughingSquid).

A video from Chicago Aussie documents the start-to-finish process of restoring a painting, as done by fine art conservator Julian Baumgartner of Chicago’s Baumgartner Fine Art Restoration. The subject of this restoration is a self-portrait of Italian painter Emma Gaggiotti Richards, whose work was beloved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Unlike the quick Instagram clips of art restoration we’ve seen before, this lengthier look is a more complete representation of the process, from brushing years of dust and dirt off the back of the painting to using various creams and pieces of machinery to get the job done.

Would you be too nervous to even think about restoring art that’s hundreds of years old? Let us know what you think down in the comments!

Featured image: Chicago Aussie

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