Many famous paintings exist in the world today. They were created by artists in the centuries past and have survived to be viewed in the modern world. Many of them were hung in homes or public galleries. They did not always reside in the hallowed halls of museums. Due to this fact, many of these paintings must undergo the process of restoration to be seen as the artist originally created them. There is an in-depth process to restoring any painting.
The first step of any painting restoration is complete documentation of the piece. Each section is photographed closely to identify the original, damaged work. This is also done in close-up to assist the restorer with a visual record of the damage done. This photographic session is closely followed with a search for any and all information available about the artist and the painting. It serves as a stepping stone for the restorer to decide how best to repair the damage.
If a painting has torn canvas, the tear must be repaired before the painting can be completely assessed. Full assessment and decisions on repair are made once the canvas repair is completed. Techniques vary with the type and age of the piece being restored. Paintings are done with many layers and mixes of colored paints to achieve the look of the original piece. The underlying paint must be provided in the art if it is missing, and areas where all paint has disappeared must be filled. It is the restorer's goal to make the painting look the same as it was originally painted.
The work of restoration specialists is time-consuming and difficult. There is no guarantee the original work will be completely recreated. It has long been argued that restoration work should never be done to any painting. Today's artists in restoration work now use techniques that can be reversed. This is done to preserve the option of making changes if further information about the piece is uncovered at a later date.