Emergency Care for Ailing Art


2018 / March

Cathy Teng /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Robert Green

Lai Chih Hao likes to compare art restorers to doctors—and paintings in need of restoration to patients. Paintings, however, are silent patients unable to describe what ails them. It is the conservator’s job to examine them with the greatest care and prescribe the most efficacious treatment. “Compared with oil paintings in Europe, which are often three or four centuries old if not older, Taiwanese oil paintings are still very young,” Lai says. “When prescribing medicine to newborns or infants, a doctor must be very careful indeed.”

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