Throughout history, painters have tried to reduce the effects of time on artwork. Art restoration is a profession as old as art itself.
The Middle Ages: Religious paintings were restored for the good of the Church or to appear more “contemporary.”
16thand 17thcentury: Famous painters continue to “touch up” their predecessors’ works. Some examples include Francesco Primaticcio, called “la Primatrice” who restored several of Raphaël’s works. For centuries, painters cut up and enlarged paintings in order to adapt them to the demands of their surroundings.
18thcentury: Official beginning of the profession of art restorer with Joseph Godefroid, François Louis Colins and Jean-Louis Hacquin…
InVenice and in Paris, veritable restoration studios are created. A distinction is made between painters and restorers.
If you are interested in art restoration and its history, I highly recommend the Larousse website which contains an excerpt from “Dictionnaire de la peinture” (Dictionary of Painting) from Michel Laclotte and Jean-Pierre Cuzin with the collaboration of Arnauld Pierre which contains an extremely interesting article on the subject.