Repainting and retouching are means by which a damaged work may be restored, but both largely depend for success upon the personal judgment and aesthetic capability of the restorer. Repairs may be necessary where the results of overzealous cleanings of the past have produced injury or revealed a pentimento that disrupts the composition. Much of the restorative work of the 19th cent. had a tendency to "improve" the work of art with arbitrary additions and distortions, and a good deal of 20th-century attention was given to removing these additions.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.