The Care of Pictures

The Care of Pictures

The Care of Pictures

The Care of Pictures

Excerpt

The men who made pictures during past centuries would have found it hard to believe the truth if anybody could have told them what lay ahead for their works. Many of those have been lost, but a good many have been saved from fire, flood, war, and from weather and worms and mold. They have been moved on cars pulled by steam, they have been flown in aircraft, hidden a thousand feet below ground, sold for sums that in other days would have bought a kingdom, lighted by energy that flows through wires, recorded by hundreds of photographs, and reproduced on the pages of books. And their designers in other times would have been confounded by the means now taken to preserve those works.

The aim of this piece of writing is not to review the means of preservation or conservation now at hand for pictures; this is not to be a technical work. It is to be a summary of information, put together and explained as briefly as seemed possible, for any persons who may have something to do with the care of any kind of pictures -- the artists who make them, the students who are learning that craft, the curators or keepers responsible for such objects, and the collectors or householders who have them around. It is merely an introduction to problems in the care of pictures, and the hope is that it may prove to be a useful introduction.

It will be of little or no use to the professional conservator, for nothing in it is new to him. His handbook, if it ever gets written, will be quite different from this. The expert, the professional, and his vocation are not widely understood, and, as he is mentioned fairly often in the following pages, it would be well to say something about him. He is not cast in a mold; temperaments and capabilities cover a wide . . .

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