Russian Orthodox Icons Subject of Restoration Project

Aleksei Khetagurov, chief of icon restoration for the State Historical Museum in Moscow, hopes to reveal the face of history - literally - as he cleans dark patina from the surfaces of centuries-old icons.

One piece arrived as a "small, blackened board hidden behind her forbidding veil of spoiled dark patina." Once the piece was cleaned, Khetagurov discovered an icon of a Virgin in a gold encasement. The treasure is one of thousands stored in warehouses now arriving at museums for repair.