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Painting Restored! Is That Really Possible?

For the Sunday at the Met program Legends and True Stories: Misconceptions in Art, History and Conservation, museum curators and conservators explore a fascinating topic—Misconceptions. Talks highlight the permanent collection and address misunderstandings commonly held by the public and, occasionally, even by specialists in the field.

Kicking off the series of three lectures, the conservator Michael Gallagher discusses the impossibility of turning back the clock on a painting and fully "restoring" a work to its former glory. It is possible, however, with some slight changes, to restore a painting's meaning and integrity. Using examples from the collection, Gallagher offers a provocative  argument on museum paintings as a misplaced objects, decontextualized and often structurally altered. How do you strike a balance between the original purpose of an artwork, and what the object has become?

Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Paintings Conservation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; introduced by Dirk H. Breiding, assistant curator, Department of Arms and Armor, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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