What Types of Jobs Are Available in Fine Art Restoration and Conservation?

Art Conservation, Getty Images
Conservators clean a 17th c. Italian tapestry titled 'The Crucifixion' August 27, 2001 at the Textile Conservation Lab at St. John the Divine in NY. The 16 by 13 foot tapestry is from the Barberini collection and will take one year to clean and repair. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Question: What Types of Jobs Are Available in Fine Art Restoration and Conservation?

Fine art restoration and art conservation share similar goals, but involve different approaches and methods.

Art restorers clean the artwork to try to bring it back to its original condition as the artist had intended, while art conservators research, document and try to prevent further damage of the artwork.

Even though the two jobs have different aims, there is some overlap in the technical expertise that is required to restore and conserve artworks.

Answer:

There are a wide range of jobs for both art restorers and art conservators.

For art restorers, restoring murals and mosaics at on-site locations; repairing broken ceramics; cleaning paintings in galleries or museums are some of the jobs available.

Art conservators may also be part of a museum's full-time staff, in charge of the museum's collection of artworks, or may work independently. In a conservation department, a conservator utilizes high-tech scientific tools like Raman spectroscopy and an X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer.

Further Info on Art Conservation:

Fine Art has conducted interviews with a wide range of fine art conservators and restorers about their specific areas of expertise such as book, paper, leather, wood, painting, fine art and cultural artifacts restoration and conservation.

Education:

Traditionally, in the past, restorers apprenticed with masters to learn the tools of the trade. Skills and techniques may have also been passed through generations of a family of restorers. These days, however, with the latest high technology, many restorers and conservators attend university or institutional conservation programs to learn such cutting-edge techniques and to even learn some ancient skills.

Here is a list of nine art conservation programs from around the world.

Resources:

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) is a professional organization for art restorers and conservators.

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