Art enjoys quite a momentous position, in our lives and in our hearts. Maybe, it’s because it has stood the testimony of time itself. Marking earliest-known human civilization, and etching history ever since, art has helped us identify our lineage, understand our religion and to this day, makes for a critical base for our social system in general and our lives in particular.
For enthusiasts, who vividly understand what art is, and yes, it’s not ‘few strokes of paint on a canvas’, art offers unparalleled potential in its many career options. One such glamorous, multifaceted career is that of Art Restoration & Conservation.
To state plainly, an art restoration & conservation professional restores, preserves and analyzes artifacts and works of art. A career in art conservation and restoration requires perfect balance between knowledge of science and skills in art. Although the field is similar, both these career options entail different things.
A conservator may specialize in a particular type of object or material, such as paintings, books, sculptures or textiles. An art conservator’s primary work mainly involves monitoring and controlling the environment in which collections are stored or displayed to prevent deterioration.
They may also restore individual objects directly. Conservators may be involved in conservation science and preventive conservation and may manage laboratories or have individual research interests. It deals with examination, documentation and treatment of the material by getting involved in research.
On the other hand, art restoration involves cleaning up the object of work so as to bring it to its earlier condition. It is a domain which requires specialized knowledge most importantly of painting and history of art and also to some extent of chemistry.
If a student has an interest of working on sculptures, old pictures or manuscripts, then an understanding about these fields is necessary. It should be noted that art restoration is a time taking process which involves going through details minutely.
To pursue art restoration and conservation professionally, one must have an undergraduate degree (with a decently well overall performance) in archeology/ medieval history/ ancient history or world history. Some universities offer specialized studies in art restoration. Some of them are:
- University of Mysore
- Kurukshetra University
- University of Allahabad
- National Museum
One should also be able to back academic degree with deep insights into art ideology, artists, cultural amalgamations, abstracts and schools of thought.
It is highly recommended that one goes forward with on ground projects, trainings and apprenticeships, to attain great learnings and experience that will help them acquire credibility.
Much of the art restoration and conservation in the country takes place at National Museum Centers (Lucknow, New Delhi & Kolkata) and at INTACH Art Conservation Centre, which also lends its services to private art collectors and connoisseurs.
Art Restoration & Conservation has always been perceived as an ultra-unconventional career choice, and hence only a handful of youngsters take it up.
However, with Indian art industry gaining worldwide acclaim, a lot of students have started showing inclination towards the subjects. There’s also been an increase in the number of art galleries in the country and the demand for art restorers and art conservers. The work profile offers major travel opportunities, in search and conservation of artefacts.
“Art is the signature of Civilizations”. The land which has witnessed the Harappan civilization, where the Mughals ruled for over a century, where numerous battles have been fought, won and lost, the land which has a legacy of its own, calls for someone to uncover a thousand untold stories through its art and architecture.
Now that we are ushering into an era where we identify ourselves proudly with our legacy, the day is not far when art conservation and restoration will become one of our top priorities.
Have something to add? Share with us in the comments.