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In a self-portrait from 1907, the German artist Paula Modersohn-Becker painted herself with a hand over her stomach, suggesting pregnancy, shortly before dying of complications from childbirth. In this short video from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the art conservator Diana Hartman guides viewers through the delicate process of repairing tears at the edge of the precious painting. Hartman’s surgeon-like skills make use of a set of repurposed tools and shared knowledge developed through trial and error within the small community of art restorers. With each project presenting a unique set of challenges, often requiring many months of planning and painstaking work, conservation calls for improvisation, experience and patience in equal measure – not to mention a switch to decaf coffee to avoid dangerous jitters.
Film and visual culture
A series of animated illusions illustrates how we project depth on to flat surfaces
How Hokusai’s Great Wave emerged from Japan’s isolation to become a global icon
Watch the elegant flow of a sheep herd, seen from the sky above Israel
Emergency first responders meet chaos with dissonant calm in this gripping short
The ancient world
Not a lost kingdom but a parable – how to read Athens in Plato’s story of Atlantis
Meaning and the good life
Albert Camus built a philosophy of humanity on a foundation of absurdity
When two punk bands came to a psychiatric hospital, beautiful chaos ensued
Design and fashion
Gear up for a stylish celebration of vintage motorcycle design
The ancient world
A balanced account of Nero’s life reveals the ‘editing and destruction’ of history-making