Upkeep of Paintings

the Upkeeping

How can a painting be maintained? How can it be preserved from the wear and tear of time and atmospheric agents? Maintaining the quality of a painting requires care and attention. First of all, it must not be exposed:

  • to direct sunlight
  • to a heat source (such as radiators)
  • next to an air conditioner
  • next to a source of humidity (a Turkish bath, a sauna etc.)

In general, it is a good practice to keep the painting at a constant temperature between 15°and 20°C.

The majority of paintings is covered with a layer of varnish that has two functions: the first, aesthetic one, is to brighten the colors and make them uniform and to highlight half tones; the second, for protections, since this layer keeps atmospheric agents from damaging the colors.

Furthermore, the varnish makes cleaning the painting easier, with a soft brush or a simple cloth.

“At Annibale Esposti we have always offered consultations and solutions to bring paintings ruined by time back to their original splendor.”

However, over time, this layer of varnish tends to be absorbed by the canvas, and a painting may end up with some areas more vivid and others more opaque. On the latter areas, the color is no longer protected and the pigments are directly exposed to oxygen, dirt, humidity, fungi, mold, bacteria and also to smoke and atmospheric pollution; all of these factors can create problems for the painting and make it deteriorate over time.

At Annibale Esposti we have always offered consultations and solutions to bring paintings ruined by time back to their original splendor.


To do this, we initially examine all of the necessary procedures to make the works last over the years (extraordinary upkeep interventions such as cleaning and washing the surface, disinfesting if necessary and then applying a protective varnish); if the situation is already compromised, we suggest that our clients consider the possibility of an actual restoration of the painting.


Italy is perhaps the country with the largest number of pieces of artwork in the world. Yet, to preserve the beauty of this immense heritage, it is often necessary to intervene with restoration.

Restoration is a delicate task, different each and every time, since it has to take into account the modifications made over time and the overall value of the work.

Two main types of restoration have developed since the Nineteenth century: on the one hand, stylistic restoration prioritizes restoring the native traits of the work; on the other hand, conservative restoration relies on the notion that the artwork must certainly be preserved, but at the same time it must bear witness to the alterations to which it was subjected over time. The restoration works of the last decades seek to enhance both of these aspects.

Here’s how one generally proceeds in a restoration operation. After an initial cleaning of the surface of the work to be restored, the damages are estimated and a decision is made as to the type of intervention to undertake in order to achieve the best result.

Annibale Esposti works alongside its customers to seek with them to bring the painting back to its original splendor, without jeopardizing the value of the artwork.

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