April 21, 2021

An Innovative Monograph that Explores the Nineteenth Century’s Interpretation and Restoration of Italian Renaissance Paintings


An Innovative Monograph that Explores the Nineteenth Century’s Interpretation

and Restoration of Italian Renaissance Paintings

LOS ANGELESRepairing works of art and writing about them—the practices that became art conservation and art history—share a common ancestry. By the nineteenth century the two fields had become inseparably linked. While the art historical scholarship of this period has been widely studied, its restoration practices have received less scrutiny, a gap that this new monograph seeks to fill.


The Renaissance Restored: Paintings Conservation and the Birth of Modern Art History in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Getty Conservation Institute, $65.00) charts the intersections between art history and conservation in the treatment of Italian Renaissance paintings in nineteenth-century Europe. Initial chapters discuss the restoration of works by Giotto and Titian framed by the contemporary scholarship of art historians such as Jacob Burckhardt that was redefining the earlier age. Subsequent chapters recount how paintings conservation was integrated into museums in London and Berlin under the direction of Charles Eastlake and Wilhelm Bode. The narrative uses period texts, unpublished archival materials, and historical photographs to probe how paintings looked at a time when scholars were writing the foundational texts of art history, and how contemporary restorers were negotiating the appearances of these works. The book proposes a model for a new conservation history, object-focused yet enriched by consideration of a wider cultural context.


Matthew Hayes is a paintings conservator in private practice and director of the Pietro Edwards Society for Art Conservation in New York City. He has a PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Publication Information:


The Renaissance Restored

Paintings Conservation and the Birth of Modern Art History

by Matthew Hayes

Getty Conservation Institute

208 pages, 7 x 10 inches
56 color and 50 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-696-6, paperback
US $65.00, UK £50.00


Publication Date: July 13, 2021


Media Contact:

Sydney Lopez Getty Publications



About Getty Publications:

Getty Publications produces award-winning titles that result from or complement the work of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, and Getty Research Institute. This wide variety of books covers the fields of art, photography, archaeology, architecture, conservation, and the humanities for both the general public and specialists. Publications include illustrated works on artists and art history, exhibition catalogues, works on cultural history, research on the conservation of materials and archaeological sites, scholarly monographs, critical editions of translated works, comprehensive studies of Getty’s collections, and educational books on art to interest children of all ages.



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