Throughout history several artworks have been treated with good intentions. Several artworks were permanently damaged by chemicals and abrasive chemicals. But other treatments proved successful. That is why we still can enjoy many masterpieces in museums and private collections that are several centuries old. The conservation community has learnt from past errors and success stories. In addition, conservators-restorers have shared their experiences and made use of scientific equipment to find out what causes artworks to deteriorate and establish ways of preventing rapid deterioration. The prime scope of this scientific mission is to find ways of effectively extending the lifetime of artworks to preserve them better. Such studies were possible with the collaboration with conservation scientists and other professionals. Somehow the general public still believes that conservation and restoration of artworks is carried out by artists or craftsmen. This is incorrect. As specified by the European Union, conservation and restoration of artworks is a highly specialised profession. Conservators-restorers should be qualified, having at least a Bachelor and/or Master Degree in conservation-restoration studies in an internationally-accredited university. In addition, the conservator-restorer should have a warrant that guarantees a track record of quality and ethical work. After all, the treatment of artworks carries a great responsibility and should never be entrusted to non-professionals. Every artwork is unique, requiring a thorough examination to determine its technique, deterioration, damage, history, significance and function. After understanding and documenting the artwork's unique characteristics and needs, it will be possible to establish a tailor-made treatment and/or recommendations on how to take care for it. 

Meet David, a Maltese conservator-restorer of paintings and polychrome sculpture. He was awarded the Bachelor degree in 2003 and Master degree in conservation and restoration in 2007. He constantly strives to improve the quality of his work because paintings and sculptures deserve the best treatments possible. Ultimately, a job well done is extremely satisfying and rewarding. Throughout an intervention there is always the exciting possibility of discovering hidden inscriptions or the artist's signature. The removal of darkened coatings which gradually expose the painting's original colours, for instance, is a magical experience. The most challenging and stimulating quest of all consists of establishing better means of extending the lifetime of our precious artworks. Preserving artworks will not only safeguard their value, but it also permits us to enjoy them and transmit them to our future generations.

Deterioration and damage are always permanent. Prevention is always better than cure. One should consider that when a painting looses some of its paint, for instance, that paint will be lost for ever. Conservators-restorers can apply adhesive to prevent further paint loss. It is also possible to fill the paint loss and have it retouched. The retouching could reduce the evidence of the paint loss, making the painting look as if it was never damaged at all. But even though we might not visually notice the paint loss, the original paint from that damaged area remains missing and irreplaceable. Hence, it is always recommended to love, appreciate and take care of our treasures before it is too late. Conservators-restorers are trained to inspect art collections on site. They can check the condition of artworks and provide simple guidelines on how to provide our collections with a safer environment. This would safeguard our treasures and reduce the need of future treatments. 

For further information send an email at:     or phone:  +356 79092683

Original site version: 2003

deskrizzjoni bill-Malti: websajt fuq konservazzjoni u restawr ta' pittura u statwi polikkromi minn David Frank Bugeja, restawratur kwalifikat u professjonali Malti