Authenticity and Integrity in Art Conservation

John Ruskin, described as “a pioneer of…the ‘anti-restoration movement’” (16) wrote that “restoration means the most total destruction…a destruction of which no remnants can be gathered, a destruction accompanied with false description of the destroyed” (qtd Lerner 16). On the other hand, the role of conservators can also be understood as positive and creative, even though it is a collaboration “between the museum and the artist [that] inevitably changes the art” (17). Question What is “artistic authenticity,” and how and why may it be said to be compromised by and/or enhanced by restoration and conservation efforts?

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