Let there be light

By Hamish Keith In Cultural Curmudgeon

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17th January, 2013
Since London’s National Gallery opened its doors in Trafalgar Square in the middle of the 19th century, it has set the pace for the collection and exhibition of the great art of Europe. It was the first public gallery to restore the works in its care. In 1844, it put on show the first three old master paintings it had cleaned – there was immediate public outrage. The works, critics argued, had been destroyed. A parliamentary inquiry cleared the gallery of any wrongdoing, but the row bubbled along for more than a century. In 1947, under the direction of the great populariser of art history, ...

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