Re-evaluating the roles of the cleaning process in the conservation of paintings

  • José Manuel Barros García Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
Palabras clave: cleaning, aesthetics, legibility, painting, methodology, theory of conservation.


At a time when defining the conservation of cultural heritage is undergoing important changes, it is necessary to rethink the roles of the cleaning process applied to paintings. Throughout the nineteenth and the twentieth century, the cleaning of paintings was the subject of continuous controversy which developed both in the academic field and in the pages of newspapers. In general, attempts have been made to define, one way or another, exactly what the role of cleaning should be. Four of these roles have been (and still are): cleaning as a conservation procedure, as revelation (of the original work or of the artist’s intent), as aesthetic presentation, and as a way of improving legibility. This article reviews these roles, their limitations and also raises a number of questions and issues in order to re-evaluate cleaning, taking into account contributions by the new theories of conservation. 


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Biografía del autor/a

José Manuel Barros García, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
Cómo citar
Barros García, J. M. (2015). Re-evaluating the roles of the cleaning process in the conservation of paintings. Ge-Conservacion, 7, 14-23.

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