The Art of Preservation: Mural Masters

Fresco and mural conservation specialists are a brave, frighteningly knowledgeable, and slightly geeky elite, traveling the world studying painted walls and trying to keep maximum amounts of original pigment adhering. Over the past decade, the arsenal of high-tech tools and chemicals for analysis and repair has expanded greatly. But this roving band and the institutions they work for must still rely on venerable scientific methods: they hypothesize, get second and third opinions, and test in labs again and again before selecting treatment protocols. And the experts must sometimes concoct gentle restoration potions with ingredients as primeval as egg whites. Here are three pioneers who are working to advance the state of the art, whether in Chinese mudwalled caves, Italian cathedrals’ groin vaults, or Brooklyn laboratories

Open PDF