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Research in conservation is based on the physical appearance of cultural heritage objects, ensembles, or artistic concepts. It leads to better a better understanding of both their material and conceptual features, deepening the insight into the art making process and seeking to advance conservation treatments and conservation strategies in order to keep them for the future.

The problem-solving character of the conservation discipline shows analogies to the fields of medicine and dentistry, setting conservation apart from academic disciplines that solely address fundamental theoretical problems. Conservators assess all information gathered and keep on performing research during their conservation treatments, constantly discovering new phenomena as a result of the intimate contact with the material object allowing for a real close reading of unique works of art.