JAIC 1977, Volume 17, Number 1, Article 1 (pp. 01 to 08)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1977, Volume 17, Number 1, Article 1 (pp. 01 to 08)


Bettina Jessell


Connoisseurship helps in judging quality. Quality is a concept difficult to formulate, though among people in constant contact with good paintings there does seem to be general agreement as to where it is present and where it is absent. In addition to all the obvious requirements for quality such as good drawing, harmonious colors, satisfying composition, it has to do with a sensitive feeling for the rhythm of contrasting warm and cool tones, and with a feeling for the way light interacts with form and space. A great painter adds a creative and original vision.

It is the job of the restorer to bring back, as far as possible, the quality of the painting. This will to some extent have been irretrievably lost by damage due to age, but will usually, to a much greater extent, have been temporarily obscured by layers of darkened varnish and grime and old disfiguring overpaint. It has to be brought back by conscientious cleaning and by skilled inpainting. Quite a small area of clumsy inpainting can degrade a whole painting.

Copyright � 1977 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works