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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 5, 2008
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New Life for Old Masters
March 5, 2008   
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"Restoring the masterpieces of Polish painting to their former glory" is the National Museum in Warsaw's latest project. The idea is to protect and gradually restore the canvases in the museum's Polish Painting Gallery which houses one of the largest and most representative collections of its kind in Poland.

The gallery has 430 paintings on permanent display. These are the cream of a collection of more than 6,000 paintings dating back to the 16th century until the eve of World War 1. The paintings on display at the Polish Painting Gallery belong to the canon of European painting, and their creators are some of the greatest artists in Polish history. Slowing the aging process has proven problematic due to a shortage of funds to modernize the exhibition space. PKN Orlen is sponsoring the National Museum's project to prevent further damage. This includes plans for improving air circulation and maintaining the most favorable climatic conditions in the gallery.

"Thanks to sponsors like PKN Orlen, the National Museum in Warsaw can now improve conditions for displaying artworks, guaranteeing better protection against the negative impact of factors such as harmful UV radiation, and unfavorable temperatures, humidity and lighting," says Dorota Ignatowicz-Woźniakowska, chief conservator at the National Museum. "We have already started replacing the glass in particularly sensitive pictures, thanks to funding from PKN Orlen. This kind of preventive measure is extremely valuable when you consider that a lot of the artworks in Poland are deteriorating and losing their beauty through a lack of money."

PKN Orlen has been actively supporting initiatives to preserve Poland's cultural heritage by working with the National Museum for four years. The corporation has so far funded the upgrading of the museum's technical safeguards, including fire protection and anti-burglar systems, as well as CCTV monitoring and controlled access to exhibition rooms.
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