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There is a very specific restoration technique in painting developed under the art program of Italian dictator Mussolini and implemented during the post war years of Italian recovery called “little lines”. It is a method of in painting, filling areas of damage using only vertical lines of pure colour with an exceptionally thin brush. It is nolonger practiced as it presents a hybrid of painterly qualities, opening the restored painting to interpretations other than a historical artefact. But the effect is also one of the recovery of the work of art – in that it establishes the damaged work as whole AND that it produces a new, delicate optical effect distinguishable from the damage. The most problematic example of this is the crucifixion by Cimabue damaged during one of Florence’s many floods. Here half of Christ’s face becomes wholly the effect of paint and brush and the sensation of an artist-restorer rendering exactly the magnitude of the loss.

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