Letter: New life for the Old Masters: careful restoration or careless destruction?

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The Independent Online
Sir: I strongly support Bryan Appleyard's attack on the destruction of the world's masterpieces by the current fashion for overzealous cleaning and restoration. My only disagreement with his article concerns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I feel that a progression from a greater to a lesser experience of form, weight and space cannot possibly bring us nearer to Michelangelo's intention.

Regarding Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne, I know of no painter old enough to have an opinion who does not feel that this great painting was partially destroyed by cleaning.

Anybody who would sacrifice the surface unity and harmony of expression achieved by an artistic genius to the pursuit of brighter - perhaps, in unrelated isolation, truer - colours declares himself to be a philistine; and such people must not be allowed to get their hands on art.

Yours faithfully,


Bungay, Suffolk

8 April

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