The Renaissance Restored, a recently published study, bears as its subtitle “Paintings Conservation and the Birth of Modern Art History in Nineteenth-Century Europe,” a qualifying phrase that sets it apart from a rapidly expanding bibliography on the subject of the care and preservation of art.1 The story it tells is of how Italian Renaissance art fared in the decades-long period when it was at the zenith of popular appeal and critical study. Italian Renaissance art was, in this charmed moment, the undisputed worldwide main event: for the scholars in academe, the dealers in their...


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