Conserving paintings

Oil, tempera, fresco, enamel... materials and techniques have changed over time, and conservators need a vast amount of knowledge to preserve paintings.

Conserving a portrait of King Edward VI
Conserving a portrait of King Edward VI

This portrait was in good condition. Thanks to the removal of varnish and overpainting, it’s now cleaner than ever.

Painting Conservation of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Painting Conservation of the Virgin of Guadalupe

A three-hundred year old painting required a lot of attention before it was ready for visitors to experience in the gallery.

Conservation of paintings
Conservation of paintings

A restorer’s job is to make sense of a painting’s physical history and to stabilize its changeable materials.

Restoring Rothko
Restoring Rothko

What happens when a painting is vandalized? See how conservators at Tate leapt into action to save a painting.

The Science of Van Gogh’s Bedrooms
The Science of Van Gogh’s Bedrooms

The three versions of this bedroom scene may look similar, but technical analysis reveals differences between them.

Van Gogh’s <em>Enclosed Field with Ploughman</em> under raking light
Van Gogh’s Enclosed Field with Ploughman under raking light

Raking light reveals bulges and creases in a canvas, as well as the dynamism of van Gogh’s brushstrokes.

Conservation of Vincent van Gogh’s <em>Field with Irises near Arles</em>
Conservation of Vincent van Gogh’s Field with Irises near Arles

Watch as a conservator removes decades-old varnish from a van Gogh landscape. Look at those stunning colors!

Michael Gallagher on <em>Everhard Jabach and His Family</em>
Michael Gallagher on Everhard Jabach and His Family

This painting took months of cleaning and structural work to revive—and posed several conservation challenges.

Conserving <em>Flowers in a Glass Vase</em>
Conserving Flowers in a Glass Vase

Treating this still life involved reattaching paint, removing and reapplying varnish, and then retouching losses.

Conserving Velázquez’s <em>Portrait of Philip IV</em>
Conserving Velázquez’s Portrait of Philip IV

This magnificent portrait was recently cleaned for the first time in 60 years. Now, the silver brocade gleams.

Jan Gossart – Conservation Discoveries
Jan Gossart – Conservation Discoveries

Discolored varnish had obscured much of these paintings, but technical examination revealed Gossart’s subtlety.

Ghent Altarpiece project overview
Ghent Altarpiece project overview

When Jan van Eyck’s masterpiece started flaking paint, experts convened and drew up a plan for its conservation.