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Restoration & Conservation


The Belvedere’s restoration and conservation department is dedicated to the preservation and care, restoration, and technological research into the art and cultural assets of the Belvedere’s collection, which ranges from the Middle Ages to contemporary art. Its mission is to record and preserve objects of historical and cultural significance. Conserving these irreplaceable originals requires a methodical and scientific approach in order to shed light on the historical, stylistic, iconographical, technological, and material aspects of the artworks. With this in mind, the Belvedere’s conservators devise appropriate strategies. On average, the department conserves and restores 150 paintings and frames each year, and frames and mounts between 100 and 150 graphic works.


Exhibition view, 2013, © Belvedere, Vienna

Restoration in Public

Over two years visitors had the chance to experience the biggest public restoration project in the Belvedere’s history and experience on site how a masterpiece is being examined, conserved, restored, and scientifically analyzed.

Restoration in public view

Rueland Frueauf the Elder

It was around 1490 and probably for the Cathedral or Saint Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg that Rueland Frueauf the Elder (1440/45–1507) created a winged altar, eight panels of which are now preserved in the Belvedere’s collection of medieval art. These outstanding works of late Gothic art are now being restored for the first major Rueland Frueauf exhibition to be held at the Lower Belvedere in autumn 2015.
Exhibition view, 2013 © Belvedere, Vienna

Restoring

The paintings, which are more than 500 years old, show various types of damage, ranging from crack formations to soiled paint surfaces, as well dislodged paint layers, blistering, aged filling, darkened repainting, and heavily yellowed varnish. Besides securing and recovering the stability of the pictures, the team undertakes the task of sensitively restoring the approximate original aesthetic impact of the works in a comprehensive process. It will presumably take our experts more than two years to complete this project.

Preventative Conservation

Among the department’s many tasks is preventative conservation, which covers the conservation management of temporary exhibitions and loans as well as environmental monitoring in exhibitions and the stores.

Restoration