Painting Conservation

Painting Conservation

Work of art can deteriorate over time through causes such as natural aging and shock from external factors. Art conservation and restoration is the process of preserving the life of artwork and, when damaged, returning the work as close as possible to its original state. This process relies heavily on a strong scientific understanding - chemistry in particular - as well as a sound knowledge of art history and the importance of preventive conservation. As contemporary art is particularly difficult to preserve with traditional conservation method, what is required is a change in the objective and meaning in art conservation and restoration.

Preventive Conservation

Although aging and physical changes in artwork are inevitable, it is possible to delay these processes with scientific research. Damages occur mainly from environmental factors such as light, temperature, humidity, atmospheric gases, as well as careless handling of artwork, improper exhibition technique, and chemical reactions. Most of these factors can be impeded by human, except for elements that cannot be eliminated, such as light and air. Therefore, while deterioration of artwork is inevitable, the depreciation in most of these circumstances can be delayed through preventive conservation. In a more strict sense, preventive conservation signifies reducing the amount of physical change and aging through indirect method of conservation and by not subjecting artworks to the above-mentioned elements of aggravation. In a wider context, preventive conservation also includes stabilizing materials and strengthening the deteriorating areas in an artwork


Art restoration focuses more on conserving the original image rather than the material itself. Therefore, restoration involves an active process of conservation in which damaged parts are fixed, broken parts are attached, and missing parts are replaced. In principle, the original image of the artwork must be restored, and all materials used in the restoration process must be reversible

  • Retouching Retouching
  • Case of physical damage And Conservation handing (1) Case of physical damage And Conservation handing
  • Case of physical damage And Conservation handing (2) Case of physical damage And Conservation handing

The History of Conservation at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea

Established in 1969, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, had a total number of over 400 works in its collection by April 1980. The museum staff received training in Japan to set up a measure of conservation at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, and the Western Painting Conservation Department was established in the museum for the first time in 1980. With the museum’s move to Gwacheon in 1986, Korean painting and sculpture restoration projects were implemented by the Conservation Science Department. In 1991 the museum held an exhibition titled "Painting and Restoration" which showcased ten-years of restoration work including Self-portrait by Goh Hee-Dong. Since then, the museum has been active in gathering new conservation information and technology by engaging in activities such as interchanges with overseas research centers and inviting specialists for lectures. Currently, the Conservation Science Department specializes in four areas: Oil Painting, Korean Painting, Sculpture, and Material Analysis & Environment. The department is in charge of the conservation and restoration of over 6,000 works of art.