This book deals with one of the most important and contentious issues in the world of fine art. Starting in the 1970s a mania has developed for restorations of works of art. London's National Gallery (first in this field by several decades), Washington's National Gallery, the Metropolitan, the Louvre, the Prado, the Uffizi, and others besides, are restoring their collections on a wholesale basis. Much of what is being done is radical and, in its effects, irreversible. Yet a generation from now, or less, the assumptions and the most advanced technologies of today may well be regarded as backward, misconceived or plain wrong. The authors discuss the recent restoration of three Renaissance masterpieces including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, one of the high points - and perhaps now also one of the tragedies - in the history of Western art. New evidence is presented of what has been done, and why, and it is certain to be controversial. Also examined are the restoration policies of the National Gallery and, so far as they can be learned from what the Gallery is prepared to reveal, their effects. These will prove controversial too. The authors enquire into the social, cultural and, increasingly, commercial factors that underlie the recent spate of restorations which have produced what amounts to a restoration establishment with its own networks, priorities and interests. Last, they offer hope not only that change is possible but also that the need for change is beginning to be recognized, and they put forward ideas for hastening the process.Beck, James H. is the author of 'Art Restoration' with ISBN 9780393312973 and ISBN 0393312976.