A visitor at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art made her mark, unexpectedly, on Pablo Picasso’s turn-of-the-last-century painting “The Actor” on Friday by accidentally falling into it Friday and adding a 6-inch rip not intended by the artist to the lower right corner of the canvas. Big oops! Now it’s up to the Met’s restoration squad to do some damage control. Here’s how it’s done. –KA

The Christian Science Monitor:

“The first principle of conservation is to minimize intervention,” says James Hamm, interim director of the Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State University. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We do as little as possible because the more we get our hands in it, the more chance for wear and tear. The art is supposed to live longer than us.”

Once conservators assess the best way to repair the damage while minimizing intervention, they clean flaking paint and dust.

“It’s kind of like cleaning a cut,” says independent art restorer Patrick Mahoney. “The first thing you have to do is clean the painting.”

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