Watching 200 Years of Grime Disappear From a Painting is Too Satisfying


If you’re the type of person who gets an inexplicably profound sense of satisfaction from clearing several lines of Tetris blocks, boy oh BOY do I have a treat for you. On Monday, art dealer and Fake or Fortune? presenter Philip Mould tweeted out a video of him cleaning the varnish of a 200-year-old painting, and it just feels right.

Varnish is added to oil and acrylic paintings to keep them from getting dirty or dusty. The coating adds a protective layer, which is especially important if you’d like your art to last hundreds of years. The problem is, over time, dirt and dust tend to clump on top of the painting, making it look dull.

It’s unclear what mixture Mould uses to get his painting looking fresh. According to art supply company Winson and Newton, distilled turpentine can usually strip the varnish and gross stuff off a painting. But as Bryan Menegus points out on Sploid, this mixture seems a little too thick to be turpentine alone, so it’s anyone’s guess, really.

But if a person’s skilled enough — which Mould clearly is — they can then revarnish the painting so that it looks dazzling for another couple hundred years. Check it out:

Look at that end result! Like, who even is she????

Removing varnish from a priceless painting is arguably an art in and of itself. After all, it requires some serious skill! Still, let’s never forget the greatest example of art restoration we’ve ever seen:

I rest my case.

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