Taking care of your paintings is delicate and complex. As paintings age, the appearance of the image changes not only because of accumulated dirt, but also because aging itself can alter the materials that make up the image. Methods of removing dirt and other obscuring material requires great skill because any changes to the painting surface may bring about irreversible and damaging results, permanently affecting the aesthetic and monetary value of the work.
Discolored varnish can be removed during the cleaning of the painting surface. Cleaning is an irreversible treatment and one of the most demanding areas of painting conservation. Cleaning requires the skills of paintings conservators who have years of formal training and practical experience. Permanent damage may easily result from even the most cautious attempts to clean a painting by an untrained person. Cleaning and varnish removal are skills that require a thorough understanding of art, art history, chemistry, and materials science. It demands and understanding of the materials included in each layer of a painting’s structure. Improper cleaning can cause a painting to lose its aesthetic and monetary value.