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Jakarta Post

Art talk: A conversation about conservation

  • Josa Lukman


Jakarta   /   Thu, January 28 2021   /  01:00 am
Art of cleaning: An employee of the National Gallery of Indonesia carefully cleans a painting. Conservation work on paintings is usually done for four reasons: history, authenticity, knowledge and value.(Courtesy of National Gallery of Indonesia/-)

As pleasing as they can be to look at, one thing they don’t often discuss is the importance of art conservation.  Though certainly not as glamorous as discourses on artistic styles and subliminal messages, conservation is as important an issue. After all, they keep artworks pristine for the next generation to enjoy and appreciate. In a webinar hosted by the National Gallery, gallery head Pustanto explained that paintings were generally conserved for four reasons: history, authenticity, knowledge and value. “For example, we can learn from a Raden Saleh painting the pigment used in the era and how it contributed to the painting’s longevity. Conversely, we’ve seen newer paintings by other artists that didn’t have the same longevity,” he said. At the same time, conservation cannot “improve” a piece of work. When a painting is d...