Edgar Degas, "Dancers Practicing at the Barre"
Elsewhere, there’s a painting set on a conservator’s stand. It waits for the touch of a blue nitrile glove, for her gaze under the light. In another place, two dancers at the barre embody and contradict that object on the conservator’s stand. Always like this, it seems—the hand, the object, the body, the work of love and attention, the brief time we have to practice such skills as are needed to restore what’s been damaged, to make things (and ourselves) whole. Sweat and rhythm and grace, the solvent for our dancers; ethanol and patience, the solvent for copal and age; our restorations revealing beauty, unvarnished.