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the online magazine No. 1, October 2007

the online magazine

First Issue, First words

I have long waited for this editorial. Our project, which one year ago was just a dream, finally became real and I believe it has a great potential. First of all, I would like to remind you that e_conservation is a magazine made by conservators for conservators. It is a magazine that wants to spread information, to update you with what is happening around, with new technologies and conservation projects. It is as well a privileged place of communication and reflection. e_conservation is not limited to the electronic pdf file. e_conservation is about dynamism and therefore the magazine is an extension of the website, just like the website is an extension of the magazine. I like to believe that e_conservation is not just a standard publication to read and dispose of, because it offers a bidirectional way of communication between the magazine and its readers. We are expecting an active feedback from you, reader and fellow conservator or heritage professional. Also, from now on you are invited to participate in our message board, launched on the occasion of this first issue. This issue offers some very interesting articles. Our first "Interview" is dedicated to Prof. Ioan Istudor, a Romanian conservation-scientist that started his professional life in the early '60s and has been a key person for conservation in his country. From the present articles I would like to draw your attention to Christabel Blackman's "Choosing Varnishes", a reflection on the problematic of varnishes, and to the conservation project reports from India and Romania. The permanent section dedicated to "Education" gives you information about the conservation training in each country from around the globe, this first being dedicated to Belgium. Last but not least, the Open Access section is giving an explanation of this concept and of why we are distributing this magazine for free. I really appreciate the efforts of all those who participated to this first issue with their articles and I take the opportunity to thank them for having the courage of being the firsts. This gives us confidence and will to encourage other authors to submit and share their articles. Your support is precious as this is not our magazine but yours. Rui Bordalo, Executive Editor





2007 Summer Worksites
The Conservation of the Mural Paintings from the Assumption Church, Humor Monastery, Romania by Teodora Poiată and Rui Bordalo

8 10

The Lamo Centre at the Munshi House, Leh, Ladakh by Anca Nicolaescu

Conference Review
Directions in Preventive Conservation, 26-29 September 2007, Sibiu, Romania


14 20

The Open Access Concept
Introduction: Discussion of e-conservationline Poll Results

Interview with Ioan Istudor
A Lifetime Dedicated to Conservation Science by Anca Nicolaescu and Teodora Poiată


Conservation Project
Leh Old Town Conservation Project, Ladakh, Indian Himalayas by André Alexander and Andreas Catanese


Conservation of Paintings
Choosing Varnishes. In between the concept and the reality falls the practicing conservator… by Christabel Blackman


Care of Collections
Creating Enclosures Using Microsoft Excel by Shelagh Linklater



The Church of Suceviţa Monastery The Conservation of Mural Paintings by Anca Dină Conservation Education in Belgium by Rui Bordalo Information and Knowledge. Management of Cultural Heritage Case Studies from the Work of the Foundation for Information Society by Lia Bassa

73 88


100 101 108 113

Documentation for Architecture Conservation:
La Villetta Cemetery in Parma, Italy Cemeteries as Heritage Monument by Michela Rossi La Villetta, the Main Cemetery in Parma by Michela Rossi A Cemetery Information System by Cecilia Tedeschi Introduction; Call for Papers Introduction to the Preventive Conservation of Textiles A book by Christos Karydis




118 120



2007 Summer Worksites
THE CONSERVATION OF THE MURAL PAINTINGS from the Humor Monastery, Romania (1535)
Worksite supervision: Maria Dumbrăvician Period: 1 July - 31 October Among many onsite conservation projects active in Romania, we stop in one which we consider worthy to mention due to its complexity and history. The Church of Humor Monastery, located in Moldavia, northern part of Romania, is a centre of interest for art historian, scientists and restorers. It is one of the places with still alive traditions, included by UNESCO on the list of the World Heritage because of its unique exterior murals. For three weeks, we were working on the conservation of this monument together with a remarkable team, sharing and gathering valuable experience. Built in 1530, the church was decorated in the exterior with frescos 5 years later by Toma Zugravul. Today these frescoes are considered masterpieces of the Byzantine art.
In every number of the magazine we will report temporary worksite activity. If you want to see news about your worksite here, don’t hesitate to contact us.






iconography, they awake the interest of the national and international conservation community. Back in 1963, the church was the object of the first “pilot” conservation worksite from Romania, started by Paolo



and Laura Mora. This intervention was followed by an emergency intervention between as a 1993 and place 2000. for Today the worksite continues in the same manner, meeting from conservatorparts of the restorers different

are cleaning of the colour layer and chromatic integration. The applied methodology is not a regular one, as the painting is affected by biologic attack and by salt incrustations due to humidity action. The colour layer is powdering and presents a high risk of detachment, therefore each operation is performed with the maximum care by the specialists. Another factor which restorers must take under consideration is that the work can only be developed in the summer season as rigorous autumns and cold winters are specific for northern Moldavia.

world, specialists exchanging experiences and students assimilating knowledge. The actual worksite has the objective of conserving the interior mural paintings and has started in 2004 under the supervision of the expert-restorer Maria Dumbrăvician. Because of its complexity, the works are expected to end in 2009. At this point, the intervention focuses on the frescoes from the narthex of the church. The main operations performed

Text by Teodora Poiată and Rui Bordalo


Worksite supervision: Arch. John Harrison - Wales, UK The building is now being restored by the Ladakh Art and Media Organisation and converted into an Arts Resource Centre. In Ladakh (a barren desert situated at a height of between 3000-5000 meters above sea level and located expect Tibetan to in the meet Northern Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir) to the you don’t many conservation projects. In fact, due valuable Buddhist heritage still existing in this area, you can encounter various ongoing projects dealing with vernacular architecture, traditional building techniques, murals, wooden decorative paintings and urban planning preservation. Numerous conservators and architects from all over the world are working here as consultants or volunteers for international NGOs. The work site at the historic Munshi House is just one of the dynamic safeguarding activities in Leh, the capital of Ladakh. The house was the residence of the King’s secretary, and dates from 17th century, same period as the palace foundation. preserving complete Its the interiors most are still and among complex details,




those two large wooden balconies on the south facade, known as the Rabsaals. Munshi House restoration project started back in 2003 with a rigorous documentation regarding the history of the house, architectural drawings and the conservation survey. It also comprises, beside the restoration of the traditional architecture of the house and its interior decoration, the planning of its conversion into an Art Resource Center – The Lamo Center. This summer the team coordinated by the architect John Harrison accomplished the difficult task of restoring the main reception room which collapsed last year. Due to the elaborate decorations of the ceiling components, this undertaking was very complex and therefore required an attentive The final research results for the original the collecting preventive during ceiling. Munshi House restoration will be finalized soon and thus another Ladakhi house will be saved this time in a new context as Art Resource Center – The Lamo Center.
Text by Anca Nicolaescu

information conservation assembling

and of

assuring the room

reposition of each ornamented piece. brought back sumptuous interior of one of the most important historical house of the old Leh. Still, the conservation and restoration of all the painted ornaments will make the next year mission and subject of the degree diploma of one German conservation student, who this year was




Conference Review
Organiser: Training Center for Conservators and Restorers (CePCoR), ASTRA National Museum Complex

Sibiu, Capital

one of



oldest The in



Transylvania, is presently the European Culture. International Preventive Conference “Directions

Conservation” took place between 26 and 29 of September 2007 in Sibiu, being organised by the Training Center for Conservators and Restorers (CePCoR) within Complex ASTRA and National coordinated Museum by Marta

Guttmann. The conference was held together with another important event, The Romanian National ConservationRestoration Conference. The events were room held of at the main from

conference Hotel.





and into English was assured for the participants as presentations were given in both English and Romanian. With over 100 participants from several European countries, we may say the event was a success not only because of the high quality of the presentations but also due to the pleasant atmosphere and the related conservators’ community. The conference started with a series of key lectures given by renowned international specialists. Gaël de Guichen,
10 e_conserv@tion


also known as the father of preventive conservation, researcher of ICCROM for 30 years, spoke about the change of mentality in preventive conservation and about the necessity of increasing the attention to storage in museums’ activity. Jonathan Ashley-Smith, the developer of the application of risk methodology to strategic standards Museum and in of tactical preventive Ethnography presented museums. directives, conservation conservation. in the Jean Budapest national Tétreault, exhibit decision-making, discussed the role of György Balázs, deputy director of the (Hungary), Hungarian condition

Márton from the Teleki-Bolyai Library in Târgu Mureş, a team coordinated by Marta Guttmann. The presentation summarised the activity of the ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation Property) and Restoration which of Cultural July course by CCI took in

place at Sibiu between 18 June and 6 2007, organised with Cultural of ICCROM partnership Institute Romanian for (Canadian the and

Conservation Institute), ICN (Netherlands Heritage), Culture Ministry

Religious Affairs, and the Training Center for Conservators and Restorers (CePCoR) within ASTRA National Museum Complex. The presentation gave an insight into the general organisation mode of the course. Before the actual course, two

strategy for preventive conservation in adviser and researcher on environmental pollutants, and storage products and strategy on the preservation assessment of collections at the Canadian Institute of Conservation, introduced the problematic of pollutants in museums and of products used for display and storage of collections. Most of the presentations given by the participants are worth being mentioned, but we will confine ourselves to mention just two of them. Among the most interesting presentations which we assisted was “Risk Management in Preventive Conservation” given by three young conservation professionals, Andrea Bernath from the ASTRA Museum in Sibiu, Zsuzsanna Mara from the Szeckler Museum in Miercurea Ciuc and Krisztina



preparatory meetings took place with the purpose of establishing the objects of study and the programme of the course. A total of 22 participants were selected from more then 100 applications received. 11 lecturers worked hard to achieve the course objective during the three weeks available. The target region of the course was Eastern Europe and specific problems from this area, thus the case studies The were course a chosen from to this the to risk and necessary business. We managed it by constantly reviewing our procedures, updating our equipment and training our stuff to the very possibly high standards that we can manage.” The good organisation and the ambient of Sibiu are just some of the many things which are worth being mentioned regarding this successful event. After the conference has ended, we asked the coordinator of the organisation team, Marta Guttmann, her personal opinion about this experience: “The outcome of the event exceeded our expectations. The invited key speakers gave excellent lectures. The other presentations were diverse and of high quality, the information so every conveyed necessary was interesting of a region. presented

participants preventive


approach through


management: establishing the context, identifying, analysing and evaluating the risks, developing the treatment options, and communicating. We also wish to draw the attention over “The Tales at the Palaces: Internal access at Historic Royal Palaces” of Laurie Gibbs, preventive conservator, which presented some very interesting issues and practical solutions for the problems raised by setting up scaffoldings. According to odd spaces or locations, scaffolding systems have to be adjusted and new solutions must be found and implemented by the conservator. The team, made mainly from women used to work at considerable heights, has participated in several demanding projects for the protection and preventive conservation of the royal palaces in London. Quoting Laurie Gibbs, “introducing equipment such as scaffolds and mobile access platforms into our fragile interior is a very risky

and relevant, the atmosphere was nice, element successful conference was there. We truly hope the event will be a long term benefit for every participant, a starting point of many useful professional


contacts. We are sure that interest for preventive conservations grew substantially among Romanian participants due to the conference; professionals became more aware of the complexity of the issue and of their responsibilities in the field. We, the CePCoR, will continue to focus our activity on preventive conservation, aiming the development of a national prevention policy and program for our cultural heritage, and the allocation of the necessary funds. I would like to express thanks to our key speakers, who considerably raised the professional level of the event, to the excellent participants, without whom the work of the organisers is useless, to


Sibiu to

2007 the

Program and whole


their special

financial thanks




organising team.” Now, it is our turn to thank Marta Guttmann for the invitation at the conference and to congratulate her for this initiative. We hope to attend more of these successful events in the future, as CePCoR is known by its rich activity and dynamism among the institutions that deal with conservation of cultural heritage in Romania.

Text by Teodora Poiată



open acces


We think it’s important to dedicate an entire section to the Open Access concept, and more particularly to the Open Access publishing model, because it is an issue that people should be informed about. e-conservationline launched a poll about Open Access in May 2007. Since then, 112 people took the survey from which 9 answers were excluded due to incoherency. The eligible results were analysed and the statistics are presented below (see figure 1). If we take a look at what meant the advent of the Internet for people, and especially for domains as research and education in which the conservator-restorer is directly involved, we will see that three main areas have changed: benefits resources, but there communication are also and visualization. These changes brought many certain disadvantages involved, which must be taken into consideration. Internet offers direct and easy access to data. There is a great amount of public content which can be browsed today with the help of search engines such as Google and Yahoo. For this, all we need is a computer and a connection to internet, thus the access to this content is extremely easy. Much easier, compared to the access we have to the printed publications which have limited

Open Access

circulation and distribution, and involve costs on the reader’s side. So we benefit of this data, media, and information-rich database Today which is can available contribute for to the this public at any time and almost at no cost. anyone database by publishing content online. For instance, there are websites which allow people to create their own webpage and place content online free of charge (e.g. This can be seen as an advantage, but taking a closer look we realize that there is a knowledge-poor and information-overload syndrome present on this type of websites. However, we will be surprised to find out that many articles are uploaded to these websites with the good intention of file sharing. There is both good quality and low quality data since the access is free for everybody is no with no restriction. control From and here, the other big disadvantage: there librarians’ is quality being information used, spread

Conventional publishing houses, which made history in printing, turned now to digital publications as the investment is smaller but the profit is still high. One of the most famous and reliable sources of digital content is for example Elsevier, a publisher as which is using among ScienceDirect distributor

others. If on this website we perform a search on a topic we are interested in, indeed we will find many results but we only can access the abstract so we can get a better preview of what we are buying. The more common way to get access to the full content is to pay for the download of the electronic version which is obviously cheaper then the printed one. But due to the general tendency of avoiding digital data many times the reader ends up more satisfied buying a printed publication and pays easier for something he can see. Thus, this is another factor that diminishes the dissemination professionals. However, a new approach is now growing, which appeared due to the authors’ colleagueship. Open Access is a recent concept and there are many people that never heard about it or don’t of knowledge among

without being reliable and organised. In conclusion, the readers must train themselves to get access to the real information, to learn how to perform a good search and to avoid the “tricks” which may appear all the time. Besides the free content which is available online, we find websites that are selling content. By paying the access to certain information, the readers have the certitude that the content is trustful, verified and can be learned or used up to their needs.

know exactly what it means. As an introduction for those who are new to this concept, basically openaccess (OA) literature, scientific or nonscientific, is free of charge and free of most copyright restrictions. Depending on the OA publisher, different restrictions













commercial re-use or derivative works while others do not. Citing the Budapest Open Access Initiative: “There are many degrees and kinds of wider and easier access to this literature. By ‘open access’ to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful or purpose, technical without financial, legal,

conservators. However, an OA publication is not free to produce. It is definitely less expensive than the conventional literature but it is not free of costs. There are many costs involved in a digital publication. Besides the costs of the technical maintenance, there are costs for providing good quality content, as the peer-reviewing, proof correction, translation, manuscript preparation, editorial management, appropriated software and hardware, etc… Then, there are also costs for editing and web designing. For these reasons, there are Open Access journals which charge authors themselves for publishing their articles. In exchange, they grant fame, a label, fast publication and a large readership. The e-conservationline survey on the topic of OA among conservators and other people involved in conservation of cultural heritage gave only some partial results until now. Because of the

barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.” OA was only possible when the internet appeared, as an online method of information dissemination. In fact, OA was impossible in the age of print for the simple reason that printing costs were inevitable. Today, however, it has already made the publishing industry to reconsider their models. There are already many OA journals but very few exclusively for conservation. That’s why we created e_conservation magazine, which still, should not be confused with a journal, as e_conservation, like any other magazine, delivers all

relatively low number of people taking the survey, we can not say yet that the results are representative. That’s why we invite everyone involved in this field to take our SURVEY. By accumulating more results we will be able to generate a more realistic statistic, and in a year from now on we can make a comparative study to see if and how the situation has changed. From the conclusions that we drawn, the most relevant are: (see table 1) - Almost a third (28%) of those taking the survey never published an article. The

Open Access

other part (72%) published an article but mostly in paper (41% in paper, 11% in electronic format and 20% in both paper and electronic format). - Only 9% of those which published in electronic format were using the open access system. 25% were familiar with OA concept as a reader, 30% heard about it but did not know what it means and most of the people (36%) never heard about it. - From the overall of those that were familiar with OA, only 16% were able to name the respective journals, but in reality only some of referred publications were indeed periodic open access journals (see table 2). For those that are new to this information delivery system, there are two main ways in which OA is provided: OA journals and OA archives.

- OA archives (or repositories) simply make information available for free, without any peer review process, and are freely accessible on the internet (see table 3). The author does not need anyone’s permission for publishing and the process is very straightforward. These archives requirements - and costs - are almost negligible as they are based on open-source software. There are evidently a few drawbacks on this model such as the lack of peer reviewing and implicitly the un-referred or incomplete information, possible mistakes and besides the reader will not know which and where these archives exist. - OA journals receive articles, perform peer reviewing and all the other processes mentioned previously and then
Figure 1. Chart showing the answers given by the respondents to the main questions of the survey.


Referred Name Amien

Amien stands for Art Materials Information and Education Network and is a website providing resources for artists. Amien is “dedicated to providing the most comprehensive, up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased factual information about artists’ materials”. The website has a discussion forum where users can post information and articles. Archiport is an Italian website dedicated to Architectural, Urban and Landscape Design. The website contains links to other websites and events. CeROArt is a publication and online project of the Department of Conservation and Restoration within “École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc” (Belgium). The first issue will be launched soon and has been announced to cover the thematic of “art objects, art works: infinite changes”. E-Preservation Science, or e-PS, is an OA peer-review journal focused on scientific research in “all aspects of preservation and conservation science”. They publish a paper version which is paid but articles are free to download on their website. The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) is a well known institute dedicated to the conservation through scientific research, projects and training on international level. They publish a large amount of documents and some are available on their website in pdf format. Internet archaeology is “the premier international e-journal for archaeology and has been publishing on the web since 1996”. The content can be accessed by paid subscription. JAIC is the well known Journal of the American Institute for Conservation. The journal is paper-based but the articles published from 1977 to 2005 can be found archived online in html format. Prorestauro is a Portuguese portal fully dedicated to conservation and restoration. Among other resources, it provides free access to articles that its members make available.



E-Preservation Science The Getty Conservation Institute Internet Archaeology



The Systems Thinker

The Systems Thinker was also pointed by a user. Unfortunately we found it is an e-newsletter that does not have much to do with heritage conservation.

Table 2. List of publications and websites referred by the respondents as using Open Access system.

make the content available to the entire world (see table 4). No matter the costs involved, for the reader the access is always free, hence the information and knowledge dissemination is done towards a bigger market with less money. Going back to the results of our survey, we found out that 55% of the people that never published an article in OA were ready to publish in this system, 43% were willing to publish but first

they wish to be better informed and only 2% would not publish in this system. Asked about the reasons why they never published until now in OA, the majority (55%) were replied not they never by had with the the this OA opportunity, concept. followed familiar 3.5% 38% which



journals have low prestige and 3.5% that the readership is smaller of OA than for the paper based publications.

Open Access

Registry of Open Access Repositories Open Access Archive Information on the Open Archives Initiative Open Archive search engine EPrints for Digital Repositories

Table 3. Examples of Open Access Archive or Repositories e-Preservation Science Museum and Society Web Journal on Cultural Patrimony International Journal of Molecular Sciences Sensors Molecules International Journal of Digital Curation Antípoda: Revista de Antropologia y Arqueologia Micronesian Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences Stanford Journal of Archaeology
History, Chemistry, Materials Multidisciplinary History of arts, Archaeology Chemistry (General) Arts in general Technology, Analytical Chemistry Organic Chemistry Library and Information Science Archaeology, Anthropology History, Anthropology, Social Sciences Archaeology

English English Italian, English, Spanish, French English German, English English English English Spanish English English

Table 4. Examples of Open Access Journals and Directories. More publications can be found at DOAJ, Directory of Open Access Journals.

Why some people and in fact, everybody may show precaution when it comes to Open Access? Sometimes “being free” is confused with “having low quality” because of the tradition in paying for everything we own and mistrusting the fact that something free can have a real value. Concerning our survey, asked about their reasons for publishing in OA, the majority of our respondents named the free access for all readers as the most important factor. Faster publication, reaching a larger readership and being more frequently cited were mentioned in this order, in intermediate positions. The concern for the costs of the publication placed last on the list of reasons for choosing OA as publishing system.

Overall we notice that people show a high curiosity and interest towards publishing in OA. Especially because of this high interest which we remarked, we find useful to draw the attention over other important issues which must be known. Issues like intellectual property, copyright, data protection are all part of the next issues of e_conservation magazine and will be discussed one by one. Each of us should evaluate the advantages and possibilities which Open Access gives and, in accordance, should decide if it does or does not serve to our needs. What is certain is that OA is one way to improve knowledge dissemination by sharing information with all the other professionals in the conservation field.


A Lifetime Dedicated to Conservation Science

Professor Ioan Istudor, 79, may well be considered the first conservation scientist that worked in the field of conservation-restoration in Romania. In June 2007 e_conservation magazine interviewed this scientist who dedicated his professional life to the study of works of art. On his professional evolution, he marked important milestones on the history of conservation practice in his country and is still today highly regarded for his knowledge and experience. He is not only a personality in the conservation world but also an extremely kind and warm person. He is updated with the latest conservation developments and still practices his profession with the same pleasure and devotion as in the early ‘60s when he started.

Next page image: Part of Prof. Istudor’s impressive collection of art materials.

Ioan Istudor

How did you get involved in conservation? My first approach to conservation was the result of a pure incident which came in accordance with my interest for monuments and for cultural heritage. In the end of 1961 I heard that the Historic Monuments Direction (DMI) within The Ministry establish of a Culture was searching and a chemist because they were planning to “research analyses laboratory for historic monuments”. In fact, at that time there was no specialised laboratory to manage the problems related to conservation. Whenever something was needed, they were cooperating with different other institutes, but very few things were made even this way. So… the first laboratory of
Prof. Istudor in the research laboratory from DMI, 1973.

Born on November 14th, 1928 in Bucharest, Ioan Istudor graduated from the Faculty of Industrial Chemistry at the Polytechnic

Institute in Bucharest in 1951, as student of professor C. D. Neniţescu. He has been continuously working in the conservation field since 1962 as scientist. From 1975 to 2002 he taught applied

chemistry in the Conservation-Restoration, Museology and Monumental Art

departments of the National Art University in Bucharest. Since 1996 he is working for the private conservation company Cerecs Art S.R.L., for which he provides consultancy and

performs scientific research. During almost half-century of continuous research, he performed analyses for more than 300 sites, including the most

representative Romanian monuments, and established the main research laboratories for conservation in Romania: in 1962 - the first national conservation laboratory of the Direction of Historic Monuments; in 1963 the laboratory of the National Art Museum of Romania and in 1983 the laboratory of the National Art University in Bucharest. From 1978 to 1990 he was a member of the National Committee for the Conservation of Mural Paintings in Romania. He was certified as Expert by the Romanian Ministry of Culture in the research of the following conservation domains:




conservation was set up in the basement of a building in Maria Rosetti Street,
architecture, stone, sculpture, wood,

me being the first chemist that managed this problem systematically. In 1962 I quit my job from the alimentary industry and I started to work for DMI. Which was your first task on the field? Two months after I was employed, on April 1st, 1962, DMI decided to extract the mural paintings from Princely Church in Târgovişte. Due to the necessity of consolidating the towers it was decided to detach the frescoes around the windows. The construction engineer at the time, Dinu Moraru, being abroad for documentation regarding this issue, proposed to use the strappo method. So we needed glue for detaching. I started then to think about how to create this glue especially for this type of intervention, about what properties it should have for detaching the painting by strappo. Later this adhesive that I made was even brevetted. We started to detach the strips of painting in such hard conditions that the glue was hardening on the brushes because of the cold. After the strappo, walls, some such marks as the remained on the

mural and panel painting. He was repetitively awarded (1987, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007) with several for his





entire professional activity and he was attributed the National Order, Knight Rank for his merits. Since 1990 he is a member in the

committees for the Conservation of Artistic Components Minister of and Historic and Monuments, an honorific


member of the Association of Religious Painters from the Romanian Patriarchy. He is a prolific author, having published a large number of papers in various national and international reference publications

since 1963. He was a consultant for the translation into Romanian of several

reference books, such as the Romanian edition of “The Conservation of Mural

Paintings” by Paolo and Laura Mora in 1986. In 2006 he published a treaty of his academic experience over the years in a book entitled “Noţiuni de Chimia Picturii” (Notions on the Chemistry of Paintings) (Romanian edition). He was also granted for the patent of his discoveries: “The procedure of obtaining a transparent calcium casein dispersion”,

underdrawing and part of the pigments, and on his visit to the worksite, the Culture Minister of that time remarked that even so it still had artistic qualities and he ordered to detach another layer.

“Solutions for extracting and transferring mural paintings by strappo” and “A candle that doesn’t produce smoke for use in churches”.


Ioan Istudor

We ended up detaching everything by stacco, together with the plaster.

Voroneţ Monastery. Tell us the story. It was my first real approach as scientist

What happened to these fragments after they were detached? A part of them were placed back on their original location after the consolidation of the building. Most of them were first brought to Bucharest where they were cleaned on the reverse and then transferred to canvas so they could be glued back on the walls of the church. Two fragments of 6 meters each were brought to Bucharest and kept in Radu Vodă’s Church. The colour layer was never retouched as far as I know. Our experience and all the results were published in “Sesiunea Ştiinţifică a Direcţiei Monumentelor Istorice”, a periodic bulletin of DMI from 1963. Which is your opinion concerning the detachment of mural paintings? My personal opinion is that they should only be performed in extreme cases when there is simply no other solution and never by strappo. Stacco is a more complicated method but it’s worth because by strappo a major part of the colour is lost. Also, after transferring, it will never regain the original mural aspect. You solved the “mystery” of the blue pigment used in the Church of the

to conservation… In 1963, during the archaeological works at Voroneţ, a court garment was discovered and they called specialised people to take some decisions. As part of the commission, we were seeing the south facade, with the outstanding colours about which so many stories were told. Some were stating it was painted with Lapis lazuli, others were saying that the artist wanted to depict the telluric essence of the tree from the “Tree of Jesse”. Nobody could explain their resistance compared to other exterior mural paintings from Romania, as the colour was so well preserved. Even with the naked eye I found obvious that it had to be a simple colour alteration. On the advice of Sorin Ulea, the art historian, I investigated this in detail. After the chemical identification analyses I found out that it was azurite transformed into malachite due to the humidity action. I explained all the “mystery” in 1965 when I published the article “Un fenomen de denaturare a culorilor în pictura murală de la Voroneţ”. But the legend about the mysterious blue had already started, so it continued, and still today some claim that it is Lapis lazuli and others, even worse, that the “secret” of the pigment was never discovered.

Next page image: The south facade of the Church of Voroneţ Monastery, Romania.



Is it wrong to let the legend continue? The legend is very charming as long as it does not contradict the truth, but to state after so many years that we still do not have the answer to this “mystery” means all our scientific work was a waste. How did communism influence your profession? In 1962 I started the installation of the basic There, equipment I carried In in DMI’s out the laboratory. analysis the

the entire institution under this pretext. Then, all the responsibilities passed to the Ministry of Culture. The laboratory was assigned as independent but it was working together with a decoration enterprise. After some years I spoke with Vasile Draguţ, the director of the Art the University University. and in Bucharest, We moved and all he the until decided to set up another laboratory in equipment from 1980

1991, when the Conservation-Restoration department was established, I worked and made the analyses on demand. I was also teaching chemistry at the Mural Painting and Museology departments. In 1991, when the Conservation Department started, I continued to teach and manage the laboratory research in the same time until 2002 when I retired from the academic activity.

required for most of the monuments in restoration. 1977 communists demolished the Enei Church which they said was damaged irreversibly during the earthquake of that year. DMI objected to this action so the communists suppressed

Ioan Istudor

What is your opinion about the Conservation Department that was established in the ‘90s? It was very necessary and it shows continuous development since it started. It needs better equipment, of course. Nowadays in Romania, instead of establishing so many little laboratories, each with their own equipment, it would be better if they would combine their efforts and make a competitive one, up to the international standards.

How do you find the conservation practice of those times compared to the one of today? Back in 1973 there was a very good team. Prof. Vasile Draguţ, as member of ICOMOS, brought here Paolo and Laura Mora together with Paul Philippot and many others such as Garry Thomson, which was working at the Scientific Department of The National Gallery in London. They came to establish contacts and to cooperate with conservators from our country, to promote new approaches and methodologies, and to change experience about materials. They set up the pilot worksite for the conservation of the paintings from the Church of Humor Monastery. They started in the tomb’s chamber and there is a funny story that I remember about this experience. While performing the cleaning tests, they tried several methods, first by dry means, then by wet means and none with satisfactory results. They tried several types of cleaning rubbers and Mora even phoned to Rome and ordered more special rubbers to be sent immediately. In a week the rubbers were delivered, but still the results were not good enough. While struggling to find a solution, a student which was in a corner of the scaffold took out from his pocket a little ordinary rubber and tried it on a side.
Prof. Istudor with Laura Mora (up) and Paolo Mora (down) working in the conservation project from Humor, Romania, 1973.









However, the blue pigment for example, can give extremely interesting evidences. Its evolution is spectacular. In Romanian mural paintings, its evolution started with the use of Lapis lazuli although I did have the chance to find also Egyptian Blue. Then Lapis lazuli stopped being used, being replaced by azurite and smalt. In some monuments I discovered that azurite contains particles
Some of the rubbers experimented at Humor, from the collection of art materials of Prof. Istudor.

of smalt: inside the church in a bigger percent and in the exterior in a smaller percent because smalt has a weaker adherence to the lime compared to the azurite. But which was the role of smalt pigment in azurite? The only explanation I could find was the falsification of pigment! It looks like falsification was a common habit, since I found this in monuments belonging to very different time periods. Smalt was cheaper, easier to obtain and has a higher specific weight. Later I read the work of Paolo Benzi, “La pellicolo pittoria nella pittura murale in Italia: dall’ materiali e tecnice al XIX esecutive Alto Medievo

And it worked! Mora asked “what kind of rubber is that, from where did you took it?” and the student said he bought it from the local factory. He immediately sent people and bought all the rubbers that they had in the village. Romanian strong deposits of dirt on the frescoes could only be removed using a Romanian hard, rigid rubber! Also, they were extremely interested in the white pigment which from our mural it is paintings, they thought

Bianco di San Giovanni but it is not. Our white is pure lime with no other additives or preparation procedures. Which is your favourite research area in conservation? Mostly I like to study the evolution of pigments. It is hard to speak about evolution of pigments when we refer to pigments such as ochre or red as they are used since Antiquity. They can not

seccole” which also mentions this issue. Then, the artificial azurite, the natural ultramarine, the artificial one and the Prussian blue appeared. Still, it is very hard to establish the provenience of each blue, if for example the Lapis lazuli is coming from Afghanistan or from Ural or from another region. It requires statistical analyses made on several samples originating from different regions to which

Ioan Istudor






You were the first in Romania to prepare the casein dispersion that was used in the consolidation of the colour layer. Can you tell us how did you achieve it?

which characterise the respective mineral, that are present in the sample besides the pure pigment. What can you say about the mural painting technique used by the old masters? The working technique is very important for conservation. For example, a problem that arose was why in the exterior mural paintings from Romania the azurite was preserved so well while in occident it didn’t. This is only a matter of the technique. It is not depending on the pigment. Many times I found that a protein compound was added to the binder (lime) of the pigments. Sometimes casein was added in the lime while they were preparing the surface. In the superior layers of mortar I identified the presence of animal proteins which could only come from milk or casein added in the lime. They didn’t add it in big percentages or it could induce the detachment of the colour, but sufficient enough for enhancing the resistance of the mortar. The results are available in the article published together with Ion Balş: “Contribuţii la cunoasterea materialelor folosite în pictura murală a exterioară a bisericilor din secolul al XVI-lea din Bucovina şi la unele probleme de tehnică”, în Revista Muzeelor, V, no. 6, 1968.







alimentary in





conservation, I already had an experience in this area. I started by preparing the casein in different proportions, by different methods. Later I started to use only casein in powder. I am still preparing it today on request, but only from certain labels as it should be pure and with high solubility. Today casein dispersion is still used as a fixative, anymore but it is it is not a appreciated because

natural organic product and people are afraid it can cause other problems, even though it never happened. Then… the casein, as a product derived from cheese, simply does not have a very good reputation. His sense of humour and his modern vision over conservation practices, as well an acute critical sense over today’s controversies, are some of the characteristics that still motivate him to work for the conservation of the cultural heritage. Interview made by Anca Nicolaescu and Teodora Poiată in June 2007



Leh Old Town
Conservation Project Ladakh, Indian Himalayas

by André Alexander and Andreas Catanese

Tibet Heritage Fund


André Alexander and Andreas Catanese

1. Introduction
Ladakh is a semi-autonomous region in the Indian Himalayas. For centuries an important crossroads of Central Asian caravan from Tibet. Ladakh’s monuments capital, from the Leh, 15th preserves and 16th trade, Ladakh’s culture, language and religion have mainly come

advent of modernization in the region since the 1950s. Political events, such as the Chinese occupation of Tibet have further diminished Tibet’s urban heritage. Therefore presently Leh, the former royal capital and of administrative

Ladakh, is a very important example of historic Tibetan urban architecture. Tibet Heritage Fund (THF) is an international NGO that was founded in Lhasa in 1996 with the aim to preserve Tibet’s heritage, particularly its architectural and urban heritage. In 2003 a THF team consisting of André Alexander and Ms. Lharitso came to Leh after hearing about the decline of the old town. The team carried out a rough survey of the old town, creating an inventory of 178 historic buildings, collecting their

centuries, but was extended to become the permanent royal capital only in the early 17th century. The Tibetan cultural regions across the Himalayas are famous for their large monastic settlements, but they have produced comparatively few cities. Most of these have changed beyond recognition as a result of the very rapid

View of the old town (A. Alexander, 2006)



Leh Old Town

names, owners and photographing each building. THF then decided to begin an urban conservation program modelled on the Lhasa Old Town Conservation project (1996-2000). Lhasa and Leh share not only a common architectural heritage, but the historic districts of both faced some of the same problems. Both had infrastructure

made famous by the slightly later Potala Palace in Lhasa. The old town, consisting of two hundred stone, mud and timber houses sandwiched between thick rammed earth walls, is located on the slope below the palace, still accessed by a number of ancient stupa gateways.

2. THF’s Intervention Strategy
In 2004 the THF team returned to Leh to carry out more surveys. The findings revealed that, for example, over 55% of the historic building stock was in bad or poor condition, and that average monthly household income of the residents of old Leh was little more than 100 US$. The social data obtained during the surveys strongly conditions. generally community suggested This was intervention matched desire to by by to a the improve people’s livelihood and living expressed members many

deficits, such as lack of piped water and drainage facilities, and both had been deserted by many of the original owners – in Lhasa for political reasons, while in Leh the wealthier families simply moved to the leafy green suburbs of the town. Modern Leh is a city of some 35,000 inhabitants. The population almost triples in size during the summer tourist season, when people from all over India come here looking for work. To protect the rural Ladakhis from economic competition that they are not prepared for, the government has made impossible for outsiders to acquire land, and even to open a businesses or to work requires permits and often a Ladakhi partner. Thus, Ladakhis are benefiting more from tourism than their cousins in Lhasa. However, 15,000 tourists wanting regular showers and flush toilets and producing mountains putting a of garbage (water on bottles, Ladakh’s food wrappings, toilet paper etc.) are severe strain fragile economy. Old Leh is dominated by the former royal palace, a nine-story stone structure erected around 1600 in the Tibetan style


decline of the old town. Drainage is a problem, there are only a handful of open blocked channels (or that are frequently frozen). Heavy

rainfalls or a neighbour’s washing day can trigger the flooding of one’s basement. Houses in the old town generally have no running water, residents rely on a handful of public taps. The toilets are all of the standard Himalayan composting type. Technically, some aspects of improving conditions in the old town do present a challenge; especially building a drainage

André Alexander and Andreas Catanese

system into the sheer rock for a town which has nearly six months of sub-zero temperature winters. Mostly, however, the technical problems can be solved with locally-available technologies and materials. Tibetan The houses with are built in fashion sun-dried mud

Conservation Working

Program. together to

In with a

Leh, the

this local

consisted of five components: administration create planning

framework (a new Masterplan for Leh) and to improve the infrastructure. THF (and most local community members) expect government action to take long time and are slow to come. From early on, all local government departments expressed their support for our activities, and made available official maps and surveys. In 2006, THF and the local government, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill development Council (LAHDC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to preserve historic Leh. - THF designed a model to offer 50% cofinancing for adequate rehabilitation of homes, on the condition that indigenous labour and indigenous skills are mainly used. Based on comparable work in Lhasa, we also offered improvements such as bathrooms with drains, bringing more light into the often dark houses (built when glass was not known or available), improving the composting pits of the traditional latrines and increasing the efficiency of traditional clay mixes based on our experience and the skills of the best traditional craftsmen. Several house owners immediately took up the offer, so that presently there is a waiting list as THF’s finances only allow for a limited number of buildings to be upgraded each year.

bricks around a timber frame on stone foundations. Local clays and soils are traditionally used ingeniously to create waterproof plastered roof interior layers and dust-free The task surfaces.

would be to successfully identify and use the best of the traditional skills, which have slid into obscurity since the advent of subsidized cement and steel, and blend them with adequate modern technologies where necessary. THF opted for an integrated approach, developed for the Lhasa Old City

Map of Leh (J&K government 1990, updated by THF 2003-2007 Alexander/MRTZ/Jäkle/Wozniak/Klein)



Leh Old Town

- Starting a crafts revival, training (and employment) program. THF spent several weeks identifying Ladakhi craftsmen. The THF team travelled to surrounding villages and interviewed many craftsmen, and finally hired a small group consisting of two masons, Jamyang Tarchin and Sonam Dorje, and two carpenters, Tsering Dorje and Tsering Puntsok. This became the first project in Leh and vicinity to work again with Ladakhi craftsmen. Three years later all except one are still working for the old town project. For training and labour, preferential hiring is given to poor residents of Leh. This is aimed to give employment to

those inhabitants of the old town who do not own land and have little education, and therefore giving them an economic perspective. - Choosing a model restoration object: THF next worked with this core group of artisans to restore a communally-owned shrine, the 17th century Guru Lhakhang, to demonstrate of stock. the practicalities Leh’s a and desirability building several restoring After historic model where


community-meetings, residential lane,

rehabilitation area was next chosen, the Stagopilok upgraded. housing and infrastructure was to be

Hor Yarkandi House
A mid-20th century house located on Stagopilok alley, rehabilitated in 2006 with 50% cofinancing by the owner. Intervention included structural repairs, reconstruction of collapsed top floor and improvement of bathroom and drainage facilities. From left: ground floor plan showing composition vault and store rooms (THF), section before project (THF), mason Hanupa Dorje at work (THF 8.2006), north elevation. (André Alexander 9.2006) , ,



André Alexander and Andreas Catanese

- Registering a local NGO, the Leh Old Town Initiative. This consists of local experts and community representatives, to whom the project can be handed over in the future. Three years later the project can look back on the successful rehabilitation of several clusters of buildings and monuments in old Leh. This work has received a 2006 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award, and a Dubai Best Practice Award from UN Habitat.

The changing weather conditions and the changing needs of the people represent serious challenges. The problems can be solved through proper reutilization of the materials and the way they are used. But in most of the cases the house owners take a questionable approach. Cheap materials are available on the market and no skills are needed to fix them onto the leaking roofs.

3. Conservation of historic architectural structures
Ladakhi temples and residential buildings share the same basic architecture. An internal timber frame supports flat, mudcovered roofs. Walls are built from rubble stone and sun-dried mud bricks. Many Ladakhis say that rainfall in the region has In substantially any iron case of sheets increased most as in recent years, perhaps a result of global warming. owners material Corrugated has house roofs. roofing very In our project the traditional materials are reused and if necessary their quality is improved. Even after three years and after several heavy rainfalls the roofs we repaired are still waterproof. This is because of the waterproof “markalak” layer that we apply. “Markalak”, meaning “oily mud”, is a clay which is available almost cost-free in the areas around
Detail. Roof materials


leaking become


popular in both old and new Leh. Our team sees this as a wrong approach to both traditional and modern architecture. In the high altitude deserts of Ladakh where only few materials are available for building houses, the skills of the craftsmen and the knowledge which lasts over centuries created a high sophisticated way to utilize those materials.

Leh Old Town

Leh. It is the traditional material used to waterproof the Ladakhi roofs. In the past a thin layer on a mud roof was enough to ensure dry living rooms. Today its thickness must be improved, therefore we have added a 5 centimeter-thick layer of it in between the mud. In case of rain, the clay will absorb the initial humidity and then swell, creating a solid layer that is impermeable. During THF’s first year in Ladakh, we have collected samples of different soil qualities used in construction. These included the famous soil of Shey, used to make the best quality of mud bricks, yellow soil (sersa) of Stakmo (near Tiktse), the tap-sa soil used to build traditional stoves but also for flooring and markalak. We had these samples analysed thanks to the kind help of Prof. Achim Bräuning of the University of Stuttgart, and compared the results with samples from Tibet. In Tibet, a fine grained limestone (micrite) is used to waterproof roofs, known in Tibetan as arga. Arga is rare in Ladakh, and we only found one sample at Mangyu.
Construction of a Ladakhi roof (THF/Brandes+Catanese, 2006)

The analysis showed that markalak is indeed 80% pure clay with some silt but zero sand, while all the other soil samples, including the arga from Tibet, contain sand, silt and a little bit of clay (see figure 1). It is interesting to note that the quality of the Shey soil appears to be related to the high silt content. The order of layers in an improved Ladakhi roof starts with a ceiling of wooden beams, rafters and willow-stick joists, on which we place woven straw mats to prevent dust from falling through the joists. Next comes a layer of Ladakhi “yagtses” grass, a traditional stop-gap layer: if water makes it thus

Figure 1. Analysis of Ladakhi and Tibetan soil samples, courtesy A. Bräuning, Stuttgart



André Alexander and Andreas Catanese

far, the grass can absorb water several times its volume. The grass also serves to insulate the roof. Next comes a layer of rough soil, and then the layer of “markalak” clay. The final layer of soil on the roof is applied wet, and its mix can include straw, and even the dung of cows, donkeys or horses to increase its solidness as people often walk on the flat roofs. They are used for gathering and for performing certain household chores. The parapets are being improved by capping them with finely-cut slate stone, a method commonly used in Tibet and introduced to Leh by THF.







improved by fitting them with stainless tin pans in the crucial area between the wooden spout and the mud of the roof. It is helpful to use cement to paste the wooden spout solidly onto the roof, in the form of a cement pan in which the spout lies.

Construction of a Ladakhi roof (THF/Catanese, 2007)

Improvements in the interior consist of adding more or larger windows, of waterproofing surfaces which might come into contact with water (kitchen, bathrooms), and generally creating more durable and
Construction of a Ladakhi roof (THF/Brandes+Catanese, 2006)

dust-free surfaces. One example is the Hor Yarkandi house, a residential building erected a hundred years ago by a trader from Yarkand in China. Here we added apricot juice to the floor mix in some of the rooms, and cow dung in others. The results were more of the durable floors. and One dustfree surfaces utilization the is

When necessary modern material can be used, even if their in concentrated only most

endangered spot of the roofs where due to the changing climate the traditional materials lack in perfection. Modern materials are, when possible, hidden by layers of plaster or mud so that the original design is not altered. Locallyavailable bitumen (tar paper) can be used to protect the inner edges of the parapets against possible leaks.

room was designed as bathroom and cemented, and left with holes for piping to fit a tank on the roof for showers, and fitted with piping connected to the street drain. Composting vault of the toilet was

Leh Old Town

concreted in the inside, to prevent seepage of urine into the foundations, a very common problem in Tibet and Ladakh. The old Sankar Labrang house in the Manekhang area is an example of adaptive re-use of a historic building. Erected possibly several hundred years ago around a group of five stone-carved Buddha-s slightly smaller than life-size, the upper floor served as residence of the caretaker monk of the White Maitreya Temple nearby. The mother monastery, Sankar Gonpa near Leh, abandoned the house two

decades ago when they asked the Goba family to service the temple instead. The monastery was planning to eventually demolish modern the shops house there. and THF to construct successfully

persuaded the monastery to keep the house, and offered to restore it in return for a nominal and limited lease. After conversion, it became the Leh Heritage House, modern old a art gallery and showing alternately and an the photography

exhibition about historic Leh. Maps of the town and information about conservation project and about old Leh (and Italian Espresso) are also available. The conversion plans included the gutting of the upper floor, which was split into several small rooms, so that a single large exhibition room was created.

Sankar Labrang, south facade elevation before restoration (up) and after restoration (down) (THF/Catanese)

Sankar Labrang, now the Leh Heritage House (A. Alexander 2006)



André Alexander and Andreas Catanese

The flooring and roofing was designed to accommodate many visitors with trampling feet, so slate stone was laid on the floors and roof. The paving has so far withstood several dancing parties with Ladakhi, Bollywood and Western music, some of it played live.

the tradition of the now-lost Buddhist civilization of Kashmir, while later murals were done in the traditional styles of Western and Central Tibet. Compared to Tibet, where many historic monasteries and their paintings were damaged during the Cultural Revolution, the small territory of Ladakh preserves an astounding number of early paintings. But no professional local mural restorers have existed prior to the THF project. Soon after setting up its office in the old Lakruk House just below the Leh Palace in 2005, THF from received requests for assistance temples damaged numerous ancient monastic were

4. Conservation of Buddhist wall-paintings
Wall-paintings are an important component of Tibetan Buddhist heritage. The interior walls of temple halls, monastic assembly halls and shrines would be painted in their entirety. Traditionally, mineral pigments with animal glue as binder would be applied on a preparation of chalk on dry mud plaster. In Ladakh, several temples still preserve early murals executed in

establishments, and we saw numerous whose by murals leaking roofs, structural

faults or badly-executed restoration. Sensing the need for local experts in mural conservation, training THF set up in its the conservation program

Spring of the same year. Initially two young Ladakhis, Yangchen Dolma and Skarma Lotos, were trained in situ by international restorers. This program

“Local” restoration of wall-paintings seen in Alchi Choskhor, Ladakh (A. Alexander, 2006)

The THF team 2007 with local artisans, foreign experts and volunteers (A. Alexander)



Leh Old Town

has now become institutionalized thanks to the cooperation between THF and the Conservation Department of the Erfurt University of Applied Sciences. After two years of training in the field, the two Ladakhi students travelled to Erfurt in Germany to receive further training in the laboratories of the
Red Maitreya Temple, south facade elevation (THF/Lopes)

University. They also participated in a conservation project in a local museum. Back in Leh, the caretaker of the Red Maitreya temple, the venerable Ngawang Tsering, requested THF to carry out routine roof repairs to prevent rain leaks from soiling the 15th century three-storey image of Maitreya, the Future Buddha.

Presently, Nicolaescu these

Romanian and



German doing

conservation research, Initial

students from Erfurt are working on paintings, and recovering conservation.

analysis of the iconography indicated that the paintings are indeed from the founding depends period on but an confirmation inscription, whether

located next to a painted portrait of the founder, can be deciphered. At present, it is illegible but hope rests on special equipment offered by Erfurt University. It is planned in the near future to publish further technical reports on some of these projects in this magazine.
Red Maitreya Temple (A. Catanese, 2007)






discovered two walls with original wallpaintings hidden between a coat of whitewash applied in the late 1950s. The Red Maitreya temple is said to have been founded by the Ladakhi king Dragspa Bumdey, who reigned sometime during the first half of the 15th century. If the wall-paintings were indeed from that time, they would be the oldest in Leh.
Murals in the Red Maitreya Temple



André Alexander and Andreas Catanese

André Alexander contact: André Alexander was born in West-

Andreas Catanese contact: Lakrook House, Stalam, 194101 Leh-Ladakh, India Andreas Catanese graduated Architecture in 2004 from Kassel University in Germany. master Since then, he gained experience about vernacular architecture in Asia, participating in THF projects from Mongolia, China and India – Ladakh. Presently he is the assistant project manager of L.O.T.I. (Leh Old Town Initiative), in Ladakh, India. Since 2005, L.O.T.I. is a registered NGO under the India Society Act and the most important partner institution of THF.

Berlin in the Year of the Wood Dragon. He currently divides his time between Ladakh, China and Germany. He was trained by traditional craftsmen in Lhasa in traditional Tibetan architecture, and is currently affiliated with Berlin University of Technology (MSc in Urban Management and PhD candidate in Architecture), where he occasionally lectures. chairman He of is co-founder Heritage and Fund, first an Tibet

international the



working to preserve the heritage of Himalayan regions. His publications “Temples of Lhasa” (2005, include

Serindia), and as co-author “A Manual of Traditional Mongolian Architecture (2005, THF)”, “Beijing Hutong Conservation Study” (2004, Beijing Communications

THF Tibet Heritage Fund

Press), and “The Old City of Lhasa”, Vol. 1 (1998) and Vol. 2 (1999, both THF).




Conservation Treatment
Mural Painting Painting (any support) Stone Sculpture (any support) Textiles Paper / Documents Photography Metals Tile / Ceramic / Glass Furniture Music instruments Ethnographic assets Archeological objects

Conservation Science
Scientific research Material studies and characterisation Analytical techniques Technology development Biodeterioration State-of-the-art Reviews

Preventive Conservation
Theoretic principles Case studies

Art History, Iconography, Iconology, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Photography, Cultural Management, Museology, Computer Science, Legislation and Juridical Processes, Conservation Policies and any other fields applied to Conservation and Restoration

Documentation in Conservation
Standardisation Documentation methods Data management Conservation Theory Ethics Conservation History Check out more:


In between the concept and the reality falls the practicing conservator…


Choosing Varnishes

This article explains the importance of the step between new technological advances and their incorporation in the conservator’s and studio. Sharing It information is vital between hands-on conservators investigators. particularly concentrates on varnishes and how new available materials have proved to be useful. After their application in many different paintings, certain reflections have been made and conclusions have been drawn about their usefulness for conservators.

It is important for practicing conservators to be able to digest and assimilate new findings and technological advancements into the reality of the studio. For this reason, it is essential that helpful information is transmitted to conservators in a simple and understandable way. Very often the hands-on conservators are so busy working that it is difficult to keep up to date with advances that may or may not be useful for us or beneficial for the works of art that are being treated. New techniques or materials are frequently heard about by word of mouth, or alternatively by working on projects with fellow colleagues and interchanging knowledge, skills and knowhow. Sometimes the realistic possibilities of the uses of new materials and

benefits or shortcomings of their use for hands-on conservators surges forth from the many paintings treated and the observations about their different positive or negative aspects and results.

Varnish-making Decisions
As practicing conservators it is easy to become self indulgent in carrying out interventions that have been previously carefully chosen for a given work of art. Sometimes it is difficult to take a step back and look at the overall result of the work, until the job has been completed, often against the clock or in less than adequate conditions and with the couriers poised with masking tape in hand. This is not only important in the moment of making our conservation decisions but also in the choices that we make about the “finish” that the conservation object will have.

techniques are not fully understood until they are applied over and over again in real-life conservation practices. The


Christabel Blackman

Image 1. Before Restoration. 50 year old inpainting discoloured with time and oxidized varnishes.



Choosing Varnishes

In the field of easel painting conservation, the in-painting styles and materials are considered to be vital choices. However, often the way we re-varnish paintings does not take on as much importance as it should. The original varnish of a painting was applied in a deliberate manner, it was intentional. The choice of varnish, its drying qualities, thickness, colour, mixture with other substances, its shininess or its sheen, spot varnishing, over glazing and so forth were all deliberate choices. We should take into consideration these different qualities of the original varnish when we think about the alternatives that are available to us on the product shelf of our studios.

Varnish is a protective layer which filters oxygen and light, it also serves to saturate colours and form an overall sheen. Aging and yellowing of varnish (oxidization) molecular radicals occurs because resulting new of in the free breakage of the double bonds in the structure, form that cross-linking.

These changes at a molecular level alter the state of the original varnish, forming a more complex structure and for the practicing conservator that means that the polarity of the material changes and the varnish is no longer soluble in its original solvent. The stability of a varnish is an important quality because it ensures a greater reversibility for future interventions.

Image 2. Observation under Ultraviolet light. Differing fluorescence of materials confirms and localizes inpainting and varnishes.

Image 3. Cleaning process. Elimination of previous retouching and accumulative varnishes.



Christabel Blackman

So which varnish should I use?
Traditional natural varnishes are akin to the desirable “finish” that we wish to achieve in an old painting, however they age and yellow quite rapidly – their inevitable and the oxidation strong will render them to more difficult to remove in the future solvents required eliminate them may be detrimental to the underlying painting. Low molecular weight hydrogenated hydrocarbon varnishes have similar qualities to natural varnishes, but they are more stable and may be adapted for better use. The most frequently used varnishes of this type are Regalrez 1094 or Laropal A81 (which should not be confused with the ketone varnish Laropal A80).
Image 4. Varnishing process. Brush application of varnish saturates colours, isolates and protects.

We must remember that varnishes in a dissolved state have a greater capacity to degrade than when they are stored in a solid state.
Acrylic polymer varnishes (e.g. Paraloid –also known as Acryloid) form a very uniform film and create a homogeneous brilliant layer. However, it is difficult to achieve a natural finish as they tend to sit very much on the surface because of their complex molecular structure. Low molecular weight synthetic varnishes have a more fluid viscosity which allows them to be better extended over the paint surface. One important difference

between polymer varnishes and natural resin varnishes is that polymer varnishes work very well when applied on flat surfaces, but tend to mix the reflected white light with the paint colour when applied thus over more the textured saturation surfaces, of the reducing

colours. On the other hand, natural resin varnishes form a glossier and smoother film and produce less scattering of surface light and more colour saturation. We must remember that varnishes in a dissolved state have a greater capacity to degrade than when they are stored in a solid state. For this reason, conservators mix varnishes when they are needed and according to the individual requirements

Choosing Varnishes

dependent on the original materials used in the painting, their state of degradation and the nature of the varnish solvent). For a greater understanding of how the varnish solvent may affect the underlying paint structure it is worth commenting on a particular physical property of these varnishes. The crystallization temperature is the temperature at which a substance changes from a liquid to a solid state (i.e. for Regalrez 1094 is 33ºC, Paraloid B44 is 60ºC while Paraloid B72 is 40ºC) and determines coating.
Image 5. Restoration process. Filling of lacunae and isolating with varnish.


rigidity the






temperature results in the lessening of viscosity at a specific moment of the application of the varnish which is its “no flow” point. This is easy to perceive as it of each work of art. Custom-made becomes no longer possible to varnishes are preferable to industrially prepared varnishes, because even though their content (rarely their proportions) is marked on the bottle, we can never fully ensure to what extent degradation has occurred during its previous shelf-life. manipulate the varnish and difficult to move the brush. From this moment on, the drying process may seem to have stopped, however it still continues; the solvents seep out through the underlying layers. For this very reason, the solvent that is chosen for the fabrication of the varnish may very well affect the picture.

More about low molecular weight synthetic resins
Low molecular weight synthetic varnishes are physically and chemically stable. They are easily soluble in aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents like white spirit, and thus the application solvent does not affect the painting in the evaporation process as other solvents may (this effect is always

It may be difficult to achieve an evenly varnished surface especially with differing porosities and application thicknesses of the paint layers.


Christabel Blackman

Can I improve or adapt these varnishes?
To achieve it maximum is stability with to

Sometimes there are particular colours that do need a more specific treatment. It may be difficult to achieve an evenly varnished differing surface porosities especially and with application



incorporate a HALS additive (hindered amine light stabilizer) like Tinuvin 292. This substance acts as a free radical scavenger: it inhibits the formation of free radicals and thus avoids the process of oxidization level while of maintaining reversibility. an It optimal

thicknesses of the paint layers. Usually pigment and binder proportions differ between colours, causing a patchy visual effect of contrasting surface sheen which was never intentional.

guarantees the stability of the varnish and of the underlying layers (it should not be confused with a UV filter). Polymer additives (e.g. Kraton) are

useful to help increase viscosity and flexibility and to modify flow properties if required. Also, in order to reduce surface shine some conservators add a small amount of wax (e.g. Cosmoloid).

Painting conservators may work for months on tedious and very complicated retouching on pictures that have suffered extensive damage to the paint surface, be they large lacunae or numerous diminutive blister spots.

How can I use this in the conservation studio?
In pictures that have been over cleaned and have suffered the loss of some of their original binder, by excessively strong solvents and an inappropriately over zealous restorer, what Raymond White has referred to as “leached out”1, the smaller molecular size of these varnishes facilitates penetration into the emptied inner areas of these poor paint layers, enabling the colours to become better saturated.

Conservators who have worked on old panel paintings will know that certain areas like the Virgin’s blue cloak almost always present difficulties, because the varnish tends to sink deeply into the surface, pigments granular due Lapis to the nature (it or may a of be the a employed lazuli


oxidized azurite). To solve this problem, it is necessary to spot varnish with Paraloid, thus creating an isolating layer which sits purposefully more on the surface.

Choosing Varnishes

The big advantage of these varnishes is that they can be eliminated in the future without affecting the underlying layers due to the differentiation that is achievable because of their distinctive polarity parameters of solubility. As a consequence, it is possible to apply low weight molecular varnishes on top of other varnishes with a distinctive polarity, thus isolating different layers and facilitating future removal. They are particularly useful when applied over historical varnishes (and coloured glazes) to saturate and protect. They are an excellent choice to regenerate visual

harmony and eliminate optical confusion when applied over blooming paint or varnishes. Painting conservators may work for

months on tedious and very complicated retouching on pictures that have suffered extensive damage to the paint surface, be they large lacunae or numerous diminutive blister spots. In cases like

these it can be beneficial to apply a final coat of sacrificial varnish, so that in some future moment, the upper varnish may be eliminated without the laborious underlying restorations being touched.

Image 6. Finishing Off. Final retouching in accordance with altered state of painting, a matt finishing varnish gives a uniform and legible surface that will not have unwanted surface shine.



Christabel Blackman

Accordingly, a sacrificial varnish may also serve to separate out different layers that may in the future need to be removed. It may be applied and then later removed during various stages of the conservation process if necessary. In large public works like modern murals that are at the continual mercy of problems like graffiti or pollution, it may also be used so that future conservators have an easier job. In this way we are not only thinking of future generations of observers, but also of future colleagues. Stability and distinctive solubility is the great advantage of low molecular weight varnishes. soluble may be in However, the done same with it may original a brush, have a downside, too. Their ability to remain solvent other means that only the first application successive layers need to be applied by spraying. For this same reason, sheen problems can not be solved by brush manipulation techniques; instead, they must be controlled by spraying methods, or wax additives.

intrinsic nature of the painting is all part of that decision making process. Obviously the greater the knowledge we can count on the better. However, direct and useful information is needed to avoid overdose extremes which can cause a retracting effect the on the conservator towards good-old, always-on-the-studio-shelf

products. It is important that hands on conservator-restorers share their wealth of experience with their fellow colleagues as it can be as equally useful as scientific findings, if not, more so.

Finishing Off
The choice of a painting’s final finish is usually the choice of the conservatorrestorer technician unless otherwise

decided or specified (which is rare). Knowledge, know-how experience, along with wisdom a and certain

“sympathy and understanding” of the

1. Interview with Raymond White, National Gallery of London, 2001.

Choosing Varnishes

Bibliographical references
Roy S. Berns and René de la Rie, “The effect of a varnish’s refractive index on the appearance of oil paintings,” Studies in Conservation 48 (2003) 251-262 Marl Leonard, Jill Whitten, Robert Gamblin and René de la Rie, “Development of a new material for retouching”, Tradition and Innovation: Advances in Conservation, IIC 2000 Melbourne Congress, International Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, London (2000) 29-33

Christabel Blackman
Calle Maestro Chueca 3 46901, Vedat de Torrente, Valencia, Spain

The author is a freelance in in easel practicing painting and

René de la Rie, Conservation Science Unvarnished, Oration delivered on the assumption of the special chair for the chemistry of conservation and restoration at the University of Amsterdam, 30 October 1997, Stichting Bijondere Leerstoel voor de Chemie van Conserfvaering en Restauratie, Amsterdam (1999) René de la Rie, “Polymer additives for synthetic low-molecular-weight varnishes,” Preprints of the 10th Triennial Meeting of the ICOM Committee for Conservation, Washington, DC., Paris (1993) 566-573 René de la Rie, New Varnishes for Old Masters, (accessed on 29th July 2007) Jill Whitten, “Regalrez 1094,” “Measuring Tinuvin 292,” “Varnish Solutions,” “Characteristics of Low Molecular Weight Resins,” and “Characteristics of Polymers,” in Painting Conservation Catalog, Volume 1: Varnishes and Surface Coatings, Paintings Speciality Group, The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, Washington, DC. (1998) Jill Whitten, “Low-Molecular-Weight Resins for Picture Varnishes,” Paintings Specialty Group Postprints, The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, Washington, DC. (1995) 124 Salvador Muñoz Viñas, Contemporary Theory of Conservation, Butterworth-Heinemann (2005) Rafael Romero, et al., “Una reseña sobre el análisis y caracterización de barnices originales en pintura de caballete del siglo XVII”, Actas, I Congreso del GEIIC, Valencia (2002)

conservator-restorer and specializes


Renaissance Mediterranean panels and 17th, 18th and 19th century canvases. She has a Diploma in Restoration of Easel Paintings on Wood and Canvas, and is currently completing the Official European Masters Degree in Conservation and

Restoration in Valencia. She works as freelancer from her own private studio for public institutions,

ecclesiastical and private collectors, etc. She has written several monographic publications for the Generalitat Valenciana, catalogue chapters, congress papers,

newspaper and magazine articles, etc. She was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1959, has lived and worked in Valencia, Spain for the last twenty years and holds dual nationality.





A template was developed in Microsoft Excel to help create custom-made enclosures for artifacts and records. The program streamlines and clarifies the process of making boxes and folders. Measurements input by the user produce a diagram with specific dimensions, cutting and fold lines. Instructions, tools and materials are included with hyperlinks to suppliers’ websites. Although originally developed as a teaching tool for nonconservators, it is very flexible and can be augmented to suit particular needs. This can be used to produce containers for individual records or as a planning tool for larger re-housing projects.

Creating Enclosures Using Microsoft Excel

There are a large variety of archival enclosures available commercially. Custom-made enclosures are sometimes necessary to cut costs and to house odd size records or and by The type artifacts. graphing creating and program of Excel, a calculation containers calculating expenses. different program, diagrams, estimating consists such of as

How to Use the Template
Each sheet contains a list of materials, suppliers and a diagram with custom measurements (Fig. 1). Formulas for each dimensions of the enclosure are contained in separate cells beneath the diagram. Each formula takes into account the thickness of the enclosure material in addition to the dimensions of the record or artifact. The cell number for each calculation is added to textboxes within the diagram (Fig. 2).

ensures accuracy in the making of these dimensions

several worksheets each representing a enclosure boxes, folders and wrappers.

Figure 1. Template. Printout of a template for clamshell box showing all features.



Shelagh Linklater

As record measurements are input by the user, the custom dimensions for cutting and folding appear within the diagram in these textboxes.

Accompanying this are materials and suppliers with hyperlinks to websites so current prices can be researched. Expenditures are calculated at the end of the worksheet. This table calculates the number of enclosures that can be made per sheet plus the cost of each enclosure (Fig. 4).

Figure 2. Template Detail. Detail of template showing formula calculations for each dimension.

Additional information aids the user in completing a project. Instructions and
Figure 4. Calculation Table. Image of a calculation table.

selection criteria for particular artifacts or records can be added to a textbox (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Instructions. Detail of template showing instructions and supplier’s lists with hyperlinks.



Creating Enclosures Using Microsoft Excel

Diagram Open a worksheet in Excel and create a rectangle Rectangle by double-clicking on the on the symbol Drawing

toolbar. This rectangle can be infilled with a color to help delineate diagram markings rectangles times. Use (Fig. within the 6). Sketch shape tool to out the diagram of the enclosure by inserting
Figure 5. Model. Picture of a dismantled box.

this line

multiple denote

How to Create a Template
To create an enclosure template, begin with a set of written instructions for making an enclosure. enclosure Alternatively could a be ready-made

creasing or cutting lines. A dotted line indicates a crease. A solid line represents a cutting line (Fig. 7).

dismantled and used as a model (Fig. 5).

Figure 6. Rectangular Insert. Image of Excel spreadsheet with rectangular insert.



Shelagh Linklater

Figure 7. Sketch. Image of Excel spreadsheet with image of a slip case inserted.

Dimensions Calculations for each dimension of the enclosure are created in cells beneath the diagram. Enter the length, width and depth of the record in centimeters in three separate cells beneath the diagram and label each cell accordingly (Fig. 8). Use the cell number of each record dimension in the following formula. Each formula takes into account the thickness of the enclosure material in

addition to the measurements of the record or artifact (Fig. 9). The cell number for each calculation is added to textboxes within the diagram. To create a textbox, click the textbox symbol on the toolbar. Place the cursor within the diagram to its correct size. The textboxes are added to the diagram for each dimension of the enclosure. Add arrows on either side of the textbox to indicate the extent of each measurement (Fig. 10).

Figure 8. Record Measurements. Detail of spreadsheet showing where record measurements are entered.

Figure 9. Formulas. Detail of spreadsheet showing formulas for enclosure calculations.



Creating Enclosures Using Microsoft Excel

Overall Board Measurement Add calculation totals to create the

overall board measurements. Underneath the diagram, create two cells labelled with overall length and overall width. To create the width, for example, start from the left side of the diagram and add each line in sequence (Fig. 11). Add the cell numbers of these summations to the diagram, one on either side. Arrows can also be added to show breadth. As record dimensions are input by the user, the measurements for cutting and folding lines are calculated to appear within the diagram in these textboxes. Instructions Written instructions can be added by inserting text in a textbox. To create a Hyperlinks Hyperlinks can be added to link users to supplier’s websites. To create a hyperlink, select Insert from the toolbar textbox, click the textbox symbol on the toolbar, place it beneath the diagram and pull on the sizing handles of the textbox until it reaches the desired size. Instructions can then be typed in this textbox (Fig. 12).
Figure 11. Overall Board Measurement. Illustration showing calculation of overall board measurement.

Figure 10. Diagram textboxes. Detail of spreadsheet showing how textboxes are inserted in a diagram.

Figure 12. Instructions. Detail of spreadsheet showing how textbox is inserted and instructions are added.



Shelagh Linklater

and from the drop down menu select Insert Hyperlink. Type the text to represent the hyperlink in the box labelled Text to display. This could for example be the name of the supplier (Fig. 13). In the box labelled Address, type in the URL of the supplier’s website and then click OK. Cost Calculation Table Price information can be retrieved from these websites and inserted in a cost calculation table. To create this table, insert seven columns and label two columns with the length and width of the overall board measurement. Insert the cell number of the calculated overall

board dimension in these cells. In the next two columns, label them with the height board. the and width the of the purchased board to Multiply purchased

measurements and subtract them from overall the board measurements of estimate number enclosures

made from a single sheet (Fig. 14). Insert the price and dimensions of the single, purchased sheet retrieved from the supplier’s website. Divide the number of projects per sheet by the price of a single sheet to calculate the cost per enclosure.

Figure 13. Hyperlinks. Illustration showing the Insert Hyperlink box.



Creating Enclosures Using Microsoft Excel

Protecting Data
The worksheets can accidentally from be

To Special dialog box. Ensure the four check boxes below it are selected. Click OK and Excel will select the cells that contain formulas (Fig. 16). Press CTRL+1 again, click the Protection tab, select the Locked check box, and click OK. From the Tools menu select

altered creating inaccurate results. To prevent corrupted, calculations cell becoming to be formulas need

locked and protected.

Figure 14. Spreadsheet table showing cost and material calculations.

To protect data, open the worksheet and press CTRL+A to select the entire sheet (Fig. 15). From the Format menu, choose Cells (or press CTRL+1) and then click the Protection tab. Deselect the Locked check box and then click OK. Press F5, and then click the Special button. Click the Formulas option button in the Go

Protection and Protect Sheet… and click OK to activate protection (Fig. 17). To deactivate Tools protection select later, from the and menu Protection

Unprotect Sheet.
Figure 16. Go To Special menu. Illustration showing a Go to Special menu with check boxes.

Figure 15. Format Cells menu. Illustration showing a Format Cells menu.



Shelagh Linklater

The customized diagrams and instructions compute dimensions thus saving time and reducing error. These same calculations





and costs of materials. Although not without its challenges, this tool helps to clarify the selection and creation of enclosures and make it more efficient.

Figure 17. Protecting a spreadsheet Illustration showing how to protect a spreadsheet from the Tools Menu.

[1] P. Cullhead, “The 5-Minute Phase Box”, The Abbey Newsletter, Volume 24, Number 2, May 2000, (accessed 10 February 2007) [2] Durham University, “Four Flap Folders” (accessed 9 February 2007) [3] R. Frieda, “Designing a Book Wrapper”, The Abbey Newsletter, Volume 9, Number 3, May 1985, (accessed 10 February 2007)



Creating Enclosures Using Microsoft Excel

Shelagh Linklater is a Conservator specialised in the Conservation of Paper. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba in 1981. She also holds a Certificate in Art Conservation Techniques from Sir Sandford Fleming College in 1984. Shelagh Linklater
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

Other Publications:

6.“The Care of Archival Photograph Collections”, Dawson and Hind, Volume 14, no. 2/3, Fall 1988, pp. 26–29 7.“The Preservation of Oral History Tapes”, Dawson and Hind, Volume 14, no. 1, Winter 1987, pp. 21 8.“Conservation in Archives: Current Dimensions and Future Developments”, Communique Vol. 9, No. 1, Summer 1989, pp.7 9.“The Care of Archival Photograph Collections,” Dawson and Hind ,Volume 14, No. 2/3 Fall, 1988 pp. 26 – 29. 10.“The Preservation of Oral History Tapes,” Dawson and Hind ,Volume 14, No. 1, Winter, 1987 pp. 21.

1.“Creative Memories”, Communiqué, Volume 20, no. 12/13, Jan./Feb. 2001, pp. 1 2.“Vinegar Syndrome”, Communique Vol. 12, No. 3, Winter 1992, pp.5 3.“Two Conservation Manuals: A Comparative Review”, Communique Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall 1990, pp.7-8 4.“Little Visitors: A Book Review”, Communique Vol. 12, No. 1, Summer 1991, pp.7-8 5.“Conservator Interns in Quebec”, Communique Vol. 9, No. 3, Winter 1989, pp.3-4

[4] Guidelines for Selecting Protective Enclosures (accessed 10 February 2007) [5] Protective Enclosures for Books and Paper Artifacts, CCI Notes 11/1 (1988). [6] A. Rupp, “The Library Company’s Corrugated Clamshell Box”, The Abbey Newsletter, Volume 15, Number 6, October 1991, (accessed 9 February 2007) [7] E. Schlefer, “Wrappers With Magnetic Closures”, The Abbey Newsletter, Volume 10, Number 5, October 1986, (accessed 9 February 2007) [8] Microsoft Office Online - Excel (accessed 16 July 2007)



case stud


The conservation of mural paintings ANCA DINĂ

The Church of Suceviţa Monastery

General Data
In the north-east side of Romania, on the Suceava1 plateau, the Church of Suceviţa Monastery has been for more than four centuries a testimony of Christian beliefs, aesthetic the sense and love for had beauty. family, been Founded by the powerful Suceviţa ensemble Movilă2

cells and household annexes, the steeple, high and massive walls for protection with crenels and abutments. The church, placed in the centre of the interior courtyard, has an elongated triconch plan with an altar, a diaconicon and a prothesis on each side of it, a nave with large lateral apses, a narthex and an exonartex. Specific to the Moldavian architecture, between the nave and the narthex, there is a grave room where the church’s founders, the princes Ieremia Movilă and Simeon Movilă are buried.

conceived as a place of prayer and a royal court, gathering in the same location buildings with different functions: the church, the royal house, watching towers,

1The area is also known by the name of Bucovina,

received during the domination of the AustroHungarian Empire, from the end of the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th century.
2The Movilă family was one of the most important families of boyars in Moldova in the 16th century;

from its members rising numerous princes or important personalities in the history of Romania

and not only. Without getting into details about the genealogical ties of this family with the royal courts of different countries, it may be mentioned that Ieremia Movilă was the prince of Moldova (1595–1606), his brother Simeon Movilă, was the prince of Walachia (1600-1602) and Moldova, Gheorghe Movilă (1588–1591; 1595-1605) was a Metropolitan Bishop of Moldova and Petru Movilă (1633-1646) was a Metropolitan Bishop of Kiev.

Image 1. Panoramic image. The ensemble of the Suceviţa Monastery.

Anca Dină

Image 2. The Church of Suceviţa Monastery. South-east view.

This room has a small door and a small spiral stairway to the vault, where valuable objects were kept. The church has entrances on the north and the south sides, through two small opened porches communicating with the exonartex. All the rooms are separated by thick walls, with access through stone framed portals. As a whole, the church appears lean and

constructions and the high walls3, with a constant monastic life, the Church of the Suceviţa Monastery retains almost all the original painting.

The painting: dating and iconographic information
In the absence of precise documents from that time, art historians have dated the painting based on the representation of

imposing. The massive walls, thicker than 1.5 meters, are sustained by seven big abutments. The roof is individualized by architectural elements that can be roughly identified from the exterior. All the rooms are adorned with mural paintings in the Byzantine style continued on the exterior walls as an impressive polychrome garment. Protected by the

3For the other monument churches of North Moldova

(the Church of Voroneţ Monastery, the Church of Moldoviţa Monastery, the Church of the Humor Monastery and the Arbore Church), also with mural exterior painting, the absence of the surrounding walls led to the loss of the mural painting especially on the north facade, in the predominant way of the winds.


The Church of Suceviţa Monastery

the Ieremia Movilă’s family in the votive picture in the nave, the west and north walls. According to this, the painting4 was done between the years 1595-15965 or 16016. In a short presentation of the exterior south iconographic facade, we program, see the on the ample

representations of The Akathist Hymn and of The Tree of Jesse, continued to the altar’s apse with The Prayer of All Saints and on the north facade with The Ladder of Divine Ascent and scenes inspired by The Genesis. On the west facade and on a small portion of the north one, the walls remained uncovered with paintings. A possible explanation for this could be the political instability of the country during that period. The two porches with a painting anterior to the one on the church7 are decorated differently - at the level of the north porch, on the superior area, there are friezes with alternating zoomorphic
Image 4. Narthex, north apse, splay of the west window. Scene from the Passion of the Christ. Image 3. Narthex, west wall. Image after the intervention of conservation-restoration.

elements and imitations of brick laying8;

4The principal evidence of the art historians is the

representation in the votive picture of the ruler’s children. Due to the painter’s practice at that time, the church was painted starting with the altar towards the exterior, fact which allows the approximation of the moment when the votive painting was made and thus, the period of creation.
5Victor Brătulescu, Pictura Suceviţei şi datarea ei

Suceviţa), Publisher: Axa Botoşani, 2006, pg. 331, republished article.
7Oliviu Boldura, Evoluţia în timp a ansamblului

(The painting of Suceviţa and its dating), in “Movileştii, Istorie şi spiritualitate românească”, Publisher: Muşatinii, 2006, pg. 219-242, republished article.
6Sorin Ulea, Datarea ansamblului de pictura de la

mural de la Suceviţa. Aspecte tehnologice şi modificări estetice (The Evolution in Time of the Mural Ensemble of Suceviţa. Technological Aspects and Aesthetic Modifications), article to be published in the text review “Movileştii. Istorie şi spiritualitate româneasca” („The Movilă Family. Romanian History and Spirituality”), Muşatinii ed. Suceviţa, 2007, 3rd volume.
8This kind of decoration of the exteriors is seen

Suceviţa (The dating of the Painting ensemble of

very often at the churches in Oltenia, a region in the south of Romania.



Anca Dină







Synaxarium is represented. The east wall of the exonarthex is reserved to The Doomsday, while the other walls display illustrations from the life of the saints. Inside the scenes are small, with miniature representations, rich in theological significations and iconographical symbols. Currently undergoing a wide restoration process, this painting offers new data to the restorers and scientists, very important to the knowledge of the work techniques, the used materials10, the iconography, and the different degradation types, imposing also the search for optimal solutions, in order to preserve all the information and to hand it over to the next generations.

apocalyptical scenes9. In the interior, in the altar, there are scenes dedicated to Virgin Mary or related to the religious rituals such as The Holy Eucharist, representations of Hierarchs, and scenes from The Genesis that continue in the navel on both apses, at the level of the inferior register. In the nave’s spire, starting at the calotte, is represented The Pantocrator; the picture continues on the inferior plane with the seraphic hierarchy represented by the cherubs and seraphs, angels, prophets and The Seraphic Mass positioned at the base of the spire. On the walls of the nave, from south to north, are displayed the cycles of The Miracles done by The Savior and the one of His Passion. On the inferior area of the west wall there are two votive paintings illustrating the founders of the monastery, the prince Ieremia Movilă and his family and the Metropolitan Bishop Gheorghe Movilă. In the grave room we can see scenes from the Old Testament, and in the narthex, beside the life of Saint Nicholas and Saint George on the inferior registrar, the


with stylistic and iconographic influence from the western countries.
10All the information presented in this material

about the nature of the pigments or the composition of the support layer are taken over from the analysis bulletins of CERECS ART company – the executioner of the conservationrestoration work, analyses performed by the chemist engineer Ioan Istudor.

Image 5. Narthex, north apse, splay of the east window. Scene from the Passion of the Christ.



The Church of Suceviţa Monastery

Technical Data
The execution technique is a fresco11 with intonaco12 based on lime and addition of tow, applied carefully on the massive wall structure13. From the pigments used for the mural painting of this church we recount the earthen green and the and malachite green, yellow ochre, red ochre, charcoal black, lime white, red lead cinnabar red14. The blue used is smalt, a pigment used al fresco on the garments and the decorative elements, and secco on the sky background. The application on dry of the smalt blue pigment is visible, because during the application the painters avoided the characters, the text and the stars already existing at that moment. the gives In the mural painting of Suceviţa the gold was used abundantly on aureoles, a garments, decorative to the elements, the stars on the sky, which precious appearance ensemble.

The exterior mural painting
The conservation state and interventions The restoration in of the with painting had




interventions done on the exterior mural painting. Permanently exposed to an intense degradation process, favoured by the differences in temperatures, contraction circulation, due the to the freezingsuffered melting process, humidity and the air painting accentuated degradations. The advanced process of losing the cohesion and the adherence of the colour layer on the support, process that is visible in the grazing light, was stopped through the restoration intervention performed by a team coordinated by Tatiana Pogonat and Oliviu Boldura, restorers experienced in interventions upon exterior mural paintings in this region15. At the same time there were performed interventions for consolidating the support layer

11The execution technique is identified based on


the technological elements: incisions, compass traces, polishing on the form with local returns, the presence of the clocking and the giornatas.
12Depending on the differences of level of the wall

structure, locally, before the application of the intonaco layer, it was also identified another intermediate arriccio layer, with an equalization function.
13For building of the masonry structure stones were

remark the painters’ knowledge of the sensibility of the pigments in different environmental conditions, which forced them to replace the cinnabar red used abundantly on the interior, with ochre red on the exterior. This way its transformation into the black metacinnabar due to the exposure to the solar light was avoided.
15From the churches with exterior painting, upon

used on the vertical walls and bricks on the arches.

which were performed conservation-restoration interventions to that date, we recall The Church of the Voroneţ Monastery, the “St. George” Church in Suceava, the Pătrăuţi Church.



Anca Dină

needed especially in the area of the inferior registers and on the spire - filling of the gaps to in stop the and support prevent layer, the treatments

The interior mural painting
The conservation state If we take into consideration the age of the picture, we can say that it was very well preserved. The surfaces, from the ensemble to the detail, suffered small transformations or losses. On a critic analyze, it can be noticed that there are multiple degradations at the level of the colour and support layer. So, starting from deep to the surface, we remark that at the level of the masonry structure there are cracks especially in the church’s axe, cracks that affected the mural painting from the adjacent area16 through dislocation and detachment. Beside these areas, we come across losses of the adherence of the support layer to the wall, on smaller areas though, in other zones of the church, localized especially on the arches and in the inferior parts of the openings and also at the level of the inferior register. Locally, on the spots with persistent capillary humidity, losses of the cohesion of the support

development of the biological agents, and other operations determined by the local characteristics.

Image 6. Exterior, altar apse. Image revealing the state of conservation of the painting before the intervention.

layer can be observed. Other noticeable degradations at the level of the mural painting in the area of the inferior registers are produced by the furniture,


evolution of these cracks was stopped during the interventions done in the second half of last century, when at the superior part of the church was cast a ferro-concrete perimeter belt for resistance. As a result of this intervention, there haven’t been noticed variations of the cracks on either of the witness applied transversally on them.
17Many graffiti can be noticed on the northern

frequently represented by the lecterns, that through regular friction have produced deep erosions or gaps at the level of the colour and the support. On the same register numerous graffiti mentioning different years and names of the travelers17 can be identified.

porch and the exonarthex.


The Church of Suceviţa Monastery

There are other specific degradations of the colour layer. On the surface of the painting we can see variable quantities of adherent wax and non the adherent candles18, deposits, different accumulations of saline efflorescence and from developing forms of biological agents. All of these are super positioned on a layer of colour marked multiple times on large surfaces of accentuated losses of the cohesion and adherence to the support. We can also see alterations of the pigments, the most evident being the transformation of the smalt blue from an intense blue nuance into different faded nuances chalk to almost brown and white the with appearance19 surface

alternating with mechanical ways, dry and wet, operation performed with a lot of prudence. After the rehabilitation of the adhesion of the colour layer at the support, treatments are applied for the stabilization of the cohesion, using barium hydroxide. This intervention is done after a methodology experimented and taken from Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence and applied at the restoration site at the Church of the Probota Monastery, during an UNESCO restoration program. Using

modification of the cinnabar red pigment into brown and black20.

Methodological aspects
On the interior, the problems caused by the stabilization of the colour layer are more difficult to deal with due to the loading of the surface with accumulations and deposits. first physical For to this reason, it is necessary through perform chemical cleaning methods,
Image 7. Narthex, semicupola of the south apse. Intervention; the cleaning of the surface.


most quantities of adherent and non adherent deposits, especially smoke from the candles burned and also wax were identified in the altar, where the religious ritual takes place.
19The alteration is visible in different forms on

the superior areas) in the narthex and exonarthex. In the altered form, the smalt blue pigment is very decohesive, its preservation rising big problems.

almost all the mural surfaces in the altar, nave and the chamber of graves and partially (especially on

modification of the cinnabar red pigment can be noticed on the areas close to the windows, where it is exposed to the solar light.



Anca Dină

this treatment the connections between pigments are rebuilt and the stabilization of the sulphate ion at the level of the support layer is also obtained, avoiding this way the risk of its reappearance on the surface of the colour layer. For this reason, mural this pictures mineral at treatment is recommended for the conservation of the Suceviţa where, according to the lab tests, the lime used for the intonaco layer is rich in sulphates. For the areas where the presence of the nitrates was identified, ammonium oxalate was used. The interventions at the level of the support layer are done in a specific and particularized manner, depending on the existent problems on each surface. The treatment performed against the development of the biological agents is performed by applying in steps solutions based on quaternary ammonium salts, prescribed by the biologist on the basis of the lab tests. Regarding the aesthetic presentation of the gaps, the aesthetic option is that of an intervention which is minim and recognizable, according to the principles enounced by Cesare Brandi. Therefore, the gaps and the erosions of the colour layer are considerably attenuated with a neutral grey reported to the original, which gives continuity to the iconographic discourse. The small integrable gaps and the cracks of the support layer are patched at the level and chromatically integrated in the tratteggio technique. The extensive gaps of the support layer or the ones with a historical significance21, are patched under the level of the colour layer, being given an adequate texture and tonality. This way all the elements inherited from the predecessors are preserved unaltered, the original painting being well emphasized.
Image 9. Narthex, semicupola of the south apse. Cleaning of the surface, comparative image.

21The tracks left by the old iconostasis in the

Image 8. Detail. Chromatic integration by neutral grey reported to the original.

mural painting, which are visible in the altar after the addition of a new iconostasis.



The Church of Suceviţa Monastery

Organisation of the site
Started immediately after the end of the exterior intervention, the works of conservation–restoration are continuing22. The working period, meaning the warm season23, is restrained because of the low temperatures year24, which during make the the rest of the interventions

conservation of the mural surface, the efficiency of the interventions and the capacity of the restorers to perform their activities. The coordinator of the activities is Professor Oliviu Boldura PhD, an expert in restoration, who assures the valuing and the unaltered transmission of the painting to the next generations, together with other restorers, specialists or future specialists25.

impossible from more reasons: a good

22The work in the nave and the altar are almost

24The church is not provided with any kind of heating. 25Besides the specialists, on this worksite many

23The months in which the work is possible are

June-October, with some variations imposed by the climacteric conditions.

generations of conservators were trained among the years. Together with the Romanian students were also practicing students from Poland, Italy of Japan.



Anca Dină

Anca Dină contact:
Anca Dină is a conservator restorer, specialist in mural paintings. from The She Art graduated University in in


Bucharest where she also completed a Master in Visual Arts, Conservation specialisation. She works for the CERECS ART S.R.L. several




interventions areas from onsite conservation projects as St. George Church from the “Sf. Ioan cel Nou” Monastery in Suceava (2003), “Tăierea Capului Sfântului Ioan Botezatorul” Church from Arbore (2004–2006) and the Church of Suceviţa Monastery (2007). She participated in several national

communication sessions within the national Art History Institute “George Oprescu” in (2005 and 2006) and within the Ministry of Culture (2007), the results being under

publication at the moment.



This permanent section is dedicated to Education and Training in Conservation and Restoration, which we consider an essential and actual issue in our profession. Thus, in each number of the magazine we randomly pick a country from around the world, review and describe its training in conservation to the best of our knowledge. We are aware that education in this field is still recent in many countries, that it has a fast development and evolution in others and that there are multiple models of training. Many countries have already a solid tradition in education and training while others are just starting to have their first university courses in Conservation. In this section we present the readers a review of the existing multiple choices on a given country. The section is divided in two main parts: the recognised and the non-recognised training. Although these criteria can be subject of intense discussion, we find support on the international accepted criteria such as those of E.C.C.O. (European Confederation of ConservatorRestorers’ Organisations) among others. Thus, for example, a course may be classified as recognised when their trainees are recognised by their national associations, have a university level or equivalent, a specialisation, etc. When a school is classified as non-recognised we are not making a judgement of value, but we only indicate that its degree is not enough to achieve, by international standards, the professional level of conservator-restorer. In case you are part of the staff of a school or University that offers training in Conservation and Restoration and you would like to include your school in our magazine, please contacts us by sending an email to:




The Kingdom of Belgium is one of the smallest and most densely populated European countries. It is divided into three regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. In Flanders, roughly the north part of the country, people speak Dutch (Flemish). In Wallonia, the south part of the country, most people speak French. Each region, including Brussels, has its own government and autonomy but friction between Flemings and Wallons is widely known.




painting, ÉCOLE NATIONALE SUPÉRIEURE DES ARTS VISUELS DE LA CAMBRE 21 Abbaye de La Cambre - B-1000 Bruxelles BELGIQUE (French only)





many others. Since the beginning there is no limit for the number of admitted students. The prospective students have to pass an admission test that usually takes place in early three September. parts: of a This test comprises test, a motivation” the selected drawing “cultural for

questionnaire a third test

which is mandatory for all candidates and
Text written based on the information which Mr. Georges Dewispelaere, the Head of the Conservation Department of la Cambre, kindly provided.


course. In the academic year of 20052006 La Cambre had 672 students. The Conservation Department normally admits around 10 to 15 students, from which, depending from year to year, about 10 graduate.

Short History
The École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de La Cambre celebrates this year its 80th anniversary. Located in Brussels, the school took its name from the 18th century Cistercian abbey of La Cambre. La Cambre is an Art School that has a Department of Conservation since 1981. The department was started by the professor Mr. Michel Lefèbvre and the assistant Guillemette Terfve, who later became the head of the department. The school began by giving a 3-years degree of candidature and a 2-years degree of licence.

The programme is a full-time training that lasts 5 years and is organised in 2 cycles. The first cycle - 3 years, and 180 ECTS* credits - corresponds to the Bachelor and the second cycle - 2 years and 120 ECTS* credits – corresponds to the Master. Each year involves 900 hours of study and classes. During the 5 years the students are compelled to make internal and external internships on their specialisation.

La Cambre offers 18 courses in every artistic specialisation, from conservation and restoration to photography, sculpture,
*The ECTS system is widely used in all Europe. It stands for “European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System”, was introduced in 1989 and is based on the student workload that is required to complete the course. For more information please visit:




The course of Conservation and Restoration offers 4 possible specialisations: Painting (vessel and canvas), Sculpture, Ceramicsglass and Paper. The first year the students are introduced to the work of art. They study the technological process and its ageing. The second year of study is focused towards theoretical by the and practical of apprenticeship application

The internships are not compulsory, but students are encouraged to attend them, especially during the summer holidays. From next year La Cambre is planning to give ECTS credits for the internships students undertake.

Laboratory Equipment
La Cambre does not have its own

different techniques to the works of art. In the final year, the students must prepare teacher a thesis, an supervised external by a and specialist,

research laboratory for conservation, the analyses being performed somewhere else if necessary.

where they will develop their personal research work.

The school does not have an official

Internships, International Programs
The Department is involved in Erasmus and Socrates programs. Foreign students are accepted in a large number and they have the same regime as the Belgian ones.

publication but every year an intern jury selects to some of the works belonging the for what each department, including

Conservation-Restoration one,

they call “coup de cœur”. The selected students make an exhibition and a small edition is printed in the school’s printing studios.


Interview with Georges Dewispelaere

workshop. I think it is important to be active in the work field. In my case, I still do work for Museums and privates but it is hard because of the lack of time. What are the requirements to become a teacher at La Cambre? You need of course to have the official diploma or sufficient experience in the work am field; the for what of concerns the the hierarchy, my superior is the director. I superior specialised professors (C/R Painting etc). We have also assistants and lecturers. I have a full time employment (12h), the other professors have 7h a week and the assistants have 10h a week. For their requirements, they need the same diploma and/or experience. Tell us about how the Department of Conservation started.

e_conservation magazine interviewed in June 2007 Mr. Georges Dewispelaere, the Head of the Conservation Department of la Cambre. The interview was carried out by email, by Rui Bordalo.

You are currently the Head of the Conservation Department of La Cambre, after completing your training in the same school. How did you accomplish it? After my studies in La Cambre, I started giving lessons (4 years) in education of Conservation-Restoration in an evening academy. After this I worked for 10 years as professor of Conservation-Restoration of Polychromy. When the head of the Department of La Cambre left, I did the official State examinations. Apart teaching, you have your own workshop. How do these activities work together? All of the professors involved in

The Department started because there was no education centre in Belgium. At that of time, in Cultural conservators the Royal Heritage had their Our education Institute


Department was started after discussions between our formal director, people of different universities and the KIK-IRPA. Which is the policy of acceptance of the artworks the Laboratories work with? The works of art which we work on are mostly from Museums or Churches.

Conservation-Restoration have their own







La Cambre is member of ENCoRE since 2005. What did this membership represent for the Department? Till now, nothing. All the proposals of ENCoRE demand time and money, which we do not have.

owners, if the case is interesting on educational level. Does the Department charge for the conservation interventions performed? We charge for the costs of the materials.

Could you give us an insight of the Has the school participated in any international projects related with conservation? Yes. Since some years we work in Syria, in Croatia, France etc. We are working on a project in Cairo-Egypt. In Syria, since two years ago, some of our students and professors have gone to work on icons in a monastery. In Croatia, with the we have participated of Split since three years ago on conservation projects schools (Croatia), Antwerp (Belgium) and Köln (Germany) on a 16th century altarpiece in the Marja Sjun Church on the island of Lopud. Last year, some of our students went to work on the Versailles conservationrestoration project. We keep contact by the way of festivities, Recently the Bologna Process was introduced throughout Europe. Is La Cambre going to introduce it as well? We are of course involved in Bologna process. It does not change that much for us, except for the diploma delivered after the Bachelor years and the use of ECTS credits, our studies were always spread over 5 years.

admission process? Which are the most important conditions students need to fulfill in order to get admitted? The admission process has a general part (equal for all the 18 workshops of La Cambre) which is a drawing test and a theoretical test. The rest is specific for our Department: practical tests (copies etc...) have, which related to each tests the speciality (art we theoretical we test history, the

scientific tests…), an interview during motivation, preparation, the general knowledge, etc. Does the Department usually follow the students on their professional life after they leave the school?





borations on the workfield, and internships.

We take the chance to thank Mr. Georges Dewispelaere for his prompt cooperation and for taking the time to answer all our questions by email.


41, bd de la Constitution, B-4020 LIEGE BELGIQUE

Right from the beginning, the department comprised the two specialisations which are currently available: painting and ceramics. In the first year, the students are introduced to both specialisations and to the principles of Conservation and Restoration. The choice for one specialisation is only to be made in the

Text based on the information which Ms. Muriel Verbeeck, teacher of philosophy, iconography and research methodology at ESA, kindly provided.

second year, when the students are also compelled to make internships in private conservation companies or in Museums. The fifth year offers the possibility to obtain a complementary specialisation in modern and contemporary techniques and materials. This Specialised Master

Short History
The “École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc” (ESA) was established in 1863 and offers Conservation and Restoration training since 1992. Initially the department of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art, or COA (“Conservation d’Objects d’Art”) as it is usually called, offered a 3 years bachelor degree but later evolved into a “licence” degree in accordance with the European recommendations. According to Ms. Verbeeck “We had quite a struggle before we could change from graduate to licentiate courses and before being able to implement the Bologna process, which finally gives us the appropriate framework which is needed for teaching this demanding profession: 3 years for a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree and a Master in depth degree (2 years), focusing on modern techniques and material.”

combines two approaches: pedagogic and in depth, this last being a preparation for the PhD. ESA is giving 3 x 60 credits for the first cycle and 120 credits for the Master in Depth degree.

Internal Structure
Practical courses and restoration Ceramics Paintings
Full professor: Full professors: Ms. Viviane Bechoux Mr. Olivier Verheyden, (ceramics restorer) Ms. Sophie Moreaux Professor (and assistant): (paintings restorers) Ms. Valérie Rousseau Assistants and lecturers: (ceramics restorer) Mr. Nico Broers, Assistant and lecturer: Ms. Inge Noppe Ms. Anne-Sophie Dagneau (paintings restorers) (ceramics restorer) Lecturer: Mr. Johan Janssens (ceramics restorer)




Common art techniques courses
Professors: Mr. Benoît Higny Mr. Charly Vetro Jean-Marie Bertrand

The number of admitted students each year at ESA is between 10 and 20. According to Ms. Muriel Verbeeck, “The admission exam is not intended for a selection, but rather shows future students what the profession is about. We have about 40 exam participants; about thirty stick to their choice after having taken the mainly practical tests. At the end of the Bachelor’s training, the number of students obtaining a degree lies between a dozen and twenty. At the licentiate level (now called Master’s level) about a dozen students obtain a degree, all specialisations together.”

Art history courses Professors:
Mr. Xavier Folville Ms. Alexia Creusen

Science courses
Professors: Lecturer: Ms. Nadine Govers Ms. Anne Darimont Mr. Claude Totelin

Museology, internship:
Professor: Ms. Noémie Drouguet

General courses:
Professors: Semeiology: Aesthetics, Iconography, Mr. Theo Hachez Research methodology: Literature: Mr. Pierre Collin Law: Ms. Chantal Herin Ms. Muriel Verbeeck

Internships, International Programs
The school accepts foreign students and

Recently been


interface the

between CeROA-X

both unit the

there is no difference concerning the regime they have, except for possible exemptions for the already acquired ECTS credits. ESA has Erasmus exchanges with Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania and Poland.

departments and the outside world has created: coordinates projects and controls

good circulation of information.


Laboratory Equipment
ESA has 4 laboratories: laboratory equipped chemistry, (processing, ceramography). with binocular

photography, testing laboratory, ceramic technologies baking, These are enamelling,

microscopes, microscopes on swingingarm stands, polarizing and epifluorescent microscopes, infrared cameras, accelerated weathering system (UV) and FTIR spectrometer. For performing other tests, they collaborate with different institutes and companies.

ESA’s is planning to publish a biannual bulletin, CeROArt, on subjects related to conservation, exposition, restoration of artworks. The release of the first edition is planned for October 2007. In certain projects, ESA cooperates with external partners: Also, the school plans to podcast every autumn prestige conferences which will be posted on the school’s website in the course of next year.

Interview with Muriel Verbeeck
Ms. Muriel Verbeeck is a trained historian, Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Information Sciences and Documentation, curently professor at “École Supérieure des Arts” (ESA), St. Luc and editor of the CeROArt magazine. We thank her for the kindness in answering all our questions. The interview was carried out by email by Rui Bordalo, in on July 2007.

ESA was established back in 1863 but its Conservation Department was only introduced recently, in 1992. What are the circumstances of its creation? Our institute offered at that time several three year graduate courses in Fine Arts. Right from the start we also decided to develop courses to sensitize artists to the issues however, narrow, of conservation. framework to due Very became soon too and this


professional requirements, like they were defined by the E.C.C.O. The reform of higher education gave us the opportunity to adapt our courses and their contents in order to offer licentiate courses over a period of four years; anyway, we were able to implement the Bologna process,


which allows us to inaugurate a master’s degree with contemporary materials specialisation. Thus, the history of the ESA conservation departments is one of a long progression, which lies at the origin of our vitality. Before this, where were the Belgium conservators going to be trained?

also obtained a licentiate or additional master’s degree, either in Belgium or abroad. Apart from teaching, do you have your own workshop? Is this a common practice among ESA’s professors? Yes, the workshop professors are field

Usually two important organisations come to mind: the Higher Institute of Antwerp, in Flanders, and the La Cambre Institute, in the “Brussels-Capital Region” In the Walloon Region there was nothing comparable, nor anything like what we wanted to offer. Our niche is very specific – just like our educational approach, i.e. centered around the student. What are the requirements to become a teacher at ESA? Because of the slow evolution of our department specifically we were able to to bring together very specialised staff members, employed according the needs of the new courses. This is mainly the case for museology and preventive conservation, but also for scientific courses and material technology, in which field we receive advice from a plastic material specialist. Several professors combine their practical expertise with a Master’s and/or Doctor’s degree in History of Art or Human Sciences. The assistants coming from our own institute have

practitioners, performing with the

who until



have their



activity of their of

independently. Thus they keep in touch practical This evolution profession. continuous update

their experience is very important to us, given our educational concept. Which is the policy of acceptance of works of art for the laboratories? We do not accept privately owned works of art. However, we take care of works of art from museums or institutions. Does the Department charge for the conservation interventions performed? The charged intervention is limited to the costs of the material used. Has the school participated in any international projects related with conservation? Not yet… but we’re currently in the last phase of two cooperation projects.


Why did your school decide to implement the Bologna process for the Conservation Department? Since the beginning and throughout the evolution of the division we focused on the E.C.C.O. recommendations. Bologna is for us one of the means to achieve that goal. We find there by the way values that are pedagogically important to us, like education centered around the student, and an implementation initiatives and flexibility facilitating

from our evolution. Few students choose to stop there; indeed, we offer a specialisation in contemporary material in the 5 year, as well as many workshops,

internships, final

but of

above our



offer and

assistance in writing a thesis, which is the element theoretical practical educational aims. We believe ESA is considering offering a PhD program in conservation in the nearest future. Could you tell us more about this program? The “French Community” of Belgium has recently created the “PhD Institute No. 20”, which deals with “art and art sciences”. We would like to cooperate with different academic institutions, in Belgium and abroad, and develop a specific module of courses, which would consist of workshops, colloquiums, conferences. Our focus point of research, already developed during workshops, is axiology, i.e. raising questions about the values which determine the choice of conservation, restoration, but also the choice of working with objects of art. Indeed, the extension of the working field of conservation from works of art to objects of art, raises questions, not only related to contemporary art, but to the whole of cultural assets, which are by nature contact CeROArt heterogeneous. us right Any the person or

innovations. There is one downer however… the limited financial means often dampen enthusiasm. What changes did the Bologna process bring to the Department? The reform is being introduced one year after another. We’ve now finished awarding a diploma to our last licentiates (4 years), at the same time as we awarded the first Bachelor’s degrees. In the coming academic year we will start with our very first Master’s degree year. At the present time, your Department offers 3 degrees of 3, 4 and 5 years. Which are the differences between them and why such an organisation? Our degrees after 3 and 5 years

correspond to what is awarded in other institutions. The Master’s degree after 4 years is a particularity, which we inherited

institution concerned by this topic may away: magazine discuss




this topic in its first edition of October and there will be an international colloquium on this subject in autumn 2009.

Could you give an insight into the admission process? ESA’s admission exam is not really an

Is ESA a member of ENCore? We are not an ENCore member, but we have asked for a partnership. How did CeROArt project start and what are your expectations? The project grew out of a need: there is no platform in French to enable a dialog between conservators, restorers, museologists, who are all confronted with difficult professional problems regarding works of art (from the piece of ceramics to the contemporary painting, and in fields like mobile industrial patrimony, object design, books, ethnologic objects, scientific collections…). Fortunately, there is the Internet which makes it possible to create a “melting pot of art and culture” that can give information about what is thought Out of (research), the what is of planned (projects), what is achieved (interventions). confrontation diverse experiences ideas can grow, exchanges and collaboration can take place. Our bet is that communication stimulates creativity - and the conservation profession is more than ever in need of creativity and inventiveness when it comes to proposing solutions for the (many) problems it gets confronted with.

instrument of selection. Contrary to other institutes, we do not expect specific experience or knowledge in the fields of conservation-restoration, art or history of art: we want to stimulate an existing passion which should entice students to choose practical for to his any course. However, help we do evaluate students’ capacities using several tests, or her which motivation qualities them an the understand color and material and we ask during of interview. In fact the aim of the tests is assess those students which we find indispensable: dexterity, rigor, analytical spirit… but also sensitivity, open-mindedness and personal engagement. Does the Department usually follow the students on their professional life after graduation? Yes, with pleasure… many their also in career some work to

currently on their own, others within an institution; specialise, We follow decided with especially archeometry. much

interest... and satisfaction: for ESA, like for Montaigne, teaching is not filling a well, but lighting a fire. Those going into research show us that we have accomplished this task, which is so important for us.





Please describe your experience during the admission process. It was entirely accessible and I didn’t feel any particular difficult. It gave me much more desire to undertake these courses.

Interview with Isabelle Pirotte

How tough was the competition on the admission? I didn’t feel any competition. Which are the costs involved to study at ESA? Fees per year are about 750 euros. There are also fees about 200 euros to buy equipment and books. Other fees concern the training period. Which are your plans after graduation? I would like to open my own workshop. I’ve already restored a Chinese stoneware dragon and now I’m working on a glass boat. In one month I’ll work on GalloRoman ceramics, which belong to French Community, preserved in Gallo-Roman Museum in Ath. I’ve also received an offer to work at zoological Museum of Liège University to continue my work on Blaschka’s glass models that I’ve studied in my thesis.
We thank Isabelle Pirotte for filling out our questionnaire. The interview was carried out by email in August 2007, by Rui Bordalo.

Isabelle Pirotte is a graduate student of ESA SaintLuc. She finished her studies this year, specialising in conservation and restoration of ceramic and glass. Her thesis focused of the study of Léopold and Rudolf’s glass models of sea invertebrates from the zoological Museum of Liège University.

Why did you choose to study conservation? I like association between craft side and reflection. Beautiful objects fascinated me, I like their story and to have the privilege of taking care of them. This is why I chose this profession. Why did you choose ESA Saint Luc over the other universities? ESA Saint-Luc is the nearest school from my home and courses are given in French, my native language. This school is also open to 18 years students who come from secondary school and without other training.



Blindestraat 9-13, 2000 Antwerpen BELGIQUE




Academy Academie




(Koninklijke within


Schone offers

Kunsten), which became a department Hogeschool Antwerpen, Are you part of the staff of a school or university that offers training in Conservation-Restoration? Visual Art and Conservation-Restoration studies. The programme has its roots in the Higher Institute where of Fine Arts in was Antwerp Conservation

introduced as optional in 1988. The admission test which students must undertake is divided in three parts: an observation test, a colour or modelling test and a motivation interview. As stated in their website “the education is tertiary, higher but non-university”. The programme is divided in four years in 2 cycles of 3+1 years (180+60 ECTS credits). The students obtain a Bachelor in Conservation and Restoration after they complete the first cycle and a Master in Conservation The Glass, Royal and Restoration offers after 10
Some information presented in this article may be incomplete or not actual as we were enable to establish contact with some universities or institutions. We hope to fix this problem with your help in our next issues.


Are you available to help us with the elaboration of this section? Please contacts us at

completing the second cycle. Academy specialisations organised in 10 studios: Wood/Polychromy, Ceramics, Textile Metals, Mural paintings, Paper, Paintings/ Polychromy, Stone/Polychromy, and Visual media.
86 e_conserv@tion



In Belgium there are some other training courses in conservation that do not offer a university level degree or they only give short courses, with the duration of less than 5 years, thus they are classified as non-recognised courses. In this section we are not making a judgement of value, we

simply list all the available institutions, according with the international accepted criteria (such as those of E.C.C.O. among others). Thus, a course is classified as nonrecognised when its degree is not enough to achieve, by international standards, the professional level of conservator-restorers.

IFAPME (French only)

Overhaemlaan 11 B-3700 TONGEREN

IFAPME stands for “Institut wallon de Formation indépendants training en et Alternance Petites all over et the et des Moyennes Walloon SYNTRA promotes

(Dutch only)

Entreprises”. IFAPME is a network of 9 centres Limburg is a school that region which offers different types of training such as apprenticeship and life long training in over 200 areas, mostly focused on training for small and medium enterprises. FORMATPME, located in Limal (Wavre), is one of this network centres that offers conservation courses in the following areas: paper, furniture and easel paintings. The course is organised in 3 years. The students must undertake an internship and prepare a final work in the end of their last year. FORMATPME also organises short courses and conferences.



professional courses in all sectors. The school is organised in 7 campuses in the region of Limburg. In the campus of Tongeren, the school organises long training courses in conservation of paper and furniture (no longer 9292available at this point). A candidate must be 18 years-old in order to attend them. The course paper conservation is developed in 3 modules: paper study, paper chemistry and paper restoration. The school also offers short-term courses on restoration of paper, paintings and scientific research.


Information and Knowledge Management of Cultural Heritage

Case studies from the work of the

Foundation for Information Society

Foundation for Information Society

The Foundation for Information Society started its current activity in the frame work ensured by the Information and Knowledge Management Department of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Our colleagues have started to perform research, development, innovation and application development activities in the field of finance and financial information technology deserving the most sincere acknowledgments from professionals of the field of banking, economic institutions in the field of financial and money IT. Representatives of this professional group undertook a decisive role in the Foundation; meanwhile ensure continuity of a high quality and high standard research work. These results have transfer in heritage management. been applied by technological


Heritage is a common treasure, in the absence of modern information management it is unable to catch attention, unable to become public domain. We are able to organise this, to elaborate and implement background appropriate experience. the necessary we technical the and because possess tools and

Information management related to the UNESCO World Heritage and other cultural heritage issues is an additional research area for our scientific staff, which deals with the elaboration of the IT support for tangible collection sensor (natural and man-made) applying and intangible heritage, with the help of data technologies remote and/or information technology.

knowledge, Professional


Thereby, it contributes to decision making in the areas of heritage protection, with the use of leading-edge IT and knowledge management

assistance can be offered to the sites included in the World Heritage List or the Tentative List, in the areas of obligations prescribed by the UNESCO World Heritage





Convention (monitoring, Periodic Reporting, state of conservation), in the tasks of the local administration prescribed by the Hungarian laws (e.g. document archiving) and also in world heritage, scientific and general touristic issues. Using the results

achieved in other research areas we are able to produce a kind of technology transfer to areas that from this aspect are under-financed and therefore not sufficiently supplied with state-of the-art technology solutions.

Image 1: Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma world heritage site.

ICHEPIS – Inventorisation for a Cultural Heritage Periodic Information System
The direct objective of this two years long project (2001-2003) was to define the scope and structure of relevant information and data that could provide flexible and user friendly information and

knowledge major

management for

solutions individual

of site


managers, all State Parties, as well as for the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO, including their Advisory Bodies. During research, effective methods were to be found in order to integrate all text documents containing valuable scientific data into one data system

Foundation for Information Society

base and to make them easily available and searchable. In connection with the above, a review of the basic thesaurus of relevant areas and organisations, as far as possible, had to be integrated into a flexible Internet based structure, to provide conversion keys, including search engines, for more effective use of the present knowledge base.

coordinated research since there has not been any methodologies or procedures for such activities approved yet. State even Parties thematic have to be capable learn of and

creating comprehensive site, regional or collections, create data processing and knowledge management standards, as well as rules to update same information time these and models provide are to metadata services on their own sites. At the become a suitable basis for an approved system by the individual State Parties’ World Heritage Information and Knowledge Management System that has to be developed on a step-by-step and incremental basis. Such system enables the State Parties to recognize any relevant changes, including improvement or deterioration or even disaster of world

The most important goal of the research and development project was to produce a technologically sound, professionally accurate and internationally acceptable model basis and data sample.
It was also of great importance to analyze the utilization of remote sensing images, including a wide range of already accessible public data on world heritage sites. Thanks to the growing interest of space agencies, an increasing number of State Parties and had to the Convention, research relevant Hungarian institutes international been collecting

heritage sites in due time. It also enables them to attract partners for mutually beneficial co-operation in protection and development of the sites so that the research can lead them to integrated data models, a structure for training and education, collection, distribution and use of such data, as well as recommendations on data migration. Nowadays, councils more and and more research are

public data on world heritage sites for more than a decade to follow regularly the state of conservation of their own and other cultural and natural world heritage sites. Concerning the authenticity and the legal use of the collected data, these technical problems also require

centers, authorities, civil organisations, private persons requiring having an integrated, centrally maintained but decentralized database, which contains updated information


regarding the state of conservation of national sites. The most important goal of the research and development project was to produce a technologically and sound, professionally acceptable accurate internationally cultural and natural heritage







elements had to be determined in this phase, along with the points of connection to the adjunct databases as well as the theoretical solution to ensure data authenticity and safety. It has also been a research task to explore the circle of the potential users of the heritage database and to determine and register the changing and evolving demands for

model basis and data sample. In the course of research we have

such databases.

explored which basic elements of cultural and natural heritage have to be included into the site, national, regional and international systems. The scope of data

Figure 1. Starting points and the series of goals: the research project generator.



Foundation for Information Society

2. The Heritage Reporter The Heritage Reporter, based on the results of the ICHEPIS project, a pilot software was also developed providing unified, searchable information about a Hungarian “Millenary World Benedictine Heritage Monastery Site of

Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment” demonstrating the full scale of aspects of manageable information on it.

We also have to face a well-known problem that the same term has different meaning in different countries, cultural societies.

The system is made up of the following components: • Web-based user environment driven multi

of states and sites, site numbers) and an advanced, multiple topic search mode (by combining two functions: search for data in world heritage web sites and simultaneously for words or expressions in the world heritage documentations); • Interface to the Hungarian National Heritage Protection System; • Interface and integration pilot to a facility management software;



language support; • Menu system available in English, French and Hungarian. German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese versions can be attached; • Map-based navigation system using about 100 maps; • A database specially developed to contain the documents, multimedia

• Demonstrating in-depth site repre sentations; • Information structure for description, values, exhibits, environment, related bibliography, links, access and other touristic data; • Authentication and access right

files, maps, pictures, drawings, photos, aerial and space photos, internet links, all the information about the World Heritage music); • Search engines for separate search functions: on-map searching (by regions, sub regions, continents, states, initials site, intangible heritage (folkloric and historic texts, dance and

management; • Representation of network sites.




We also have to face the well-known problem and dance of their that the same term has different meaning in different countries cultural are societies. the The different areas of The of languages, folklore customs, music and common is these intangible heritage and the development science of interrelated. fields are researches





and legal background for access rights and regulations. The establishment of a joint archive supposes the existence of a joint basic system, as only data arranged accordingly are applicable. If the basis can be well and unanimously identified and the participants are able to fill it in with all available data, a generally exploitable, professional digital heritage archive will be created. Thus, different types of heritage like buildings, artifacts, historical texts but even musical and dance productions could be recorded and accessed by all participants for further work, research, co-operation and other functional purposes.

universal value and must be included in an archiving system that can be used world wide and made accessible for experts involved. The establishment of such a multifunctional archive raises a lot of technical problems. It is evident that results of professional researches and discoveries cannot be made public

Image 3. Rural Heritage House in Fertőhomok, world heritage site. (Photo: Gábor Madarász)



Foundation for Information Society

Another basic requirement of this system is that it should be suitable for later extensions. Some parts of the contents should be accessible for the general public in the future but its main objective is that it should be able to satisfy professional users that is also a complex task. Namely, the work of university students, research workers, authorities and experts has to be considered and a legally clarified, scientifically appropriate access has to be assured for each layer of them. Subject maps and thesauri are necessary for the adequate handling of metadata and in the same time, for the establishment of a conception structure, the systems of environment, contents and classification have to be carried out. (Image 3)

awareness and last but not least, their visit is a financial resource for the site. Tourism is the main way of contribution to the preservation of the past and our heritage meets all by the presentation of that requirements information

management. Heritage is entrusted for us by our

ancestors and our responsibility is to preserve it for future generations. The means of conservation and transmission have been changing a lot in the recent times. Our cultural heritage protection projects have the duty to connect the values to be protected with the up-to-date technical potentials. Through their application, new ways of value protection, presentation and popularization come into use to promote the human track of

The management of heritage sites requires new methodologies in the subject of supervision, administration, organisation, planning, control and marketing.
3. The “Rural Heritage” program
The “Rural Heritage” program has aimed to draw the attention of any visitor arriving from any country, from any social background, to make acquaintance with rural life in its original surroundings. It provides knowledge,

globalization by connecting people with different background. Besides producing theoretical, aesthetic and cultural profit, business value is also being generated. Adjacent to increasing touristic income, it contributes to enrich the image formed of the given country. The digital presentation of a site includes data collection and retrieval as well as information researchers, establishment management provision public of an to authorities, tourists. All site the and

information gained is put together for the appropriate aims at that



information, their cultural

preservation of the state of conservation. The buildings, objects, natural formations,



the language, national customs, music, dance are all changing in the course of time. While carrying out the processing, various sorts of data collection, registration, archiving and retrieval methods have been applied. Our basic aim is to record the current status so that the managers could keep maintenance of the creations of the above areas. Their to to protection the the values next could be professional and in order to make people acquainted transfer it surrounding generations. them so that they could appreciate it and Monitoring can be completed when the priorities of the activities to be carried out

are set up in conclusion of data collected. Data mining of can contribute to the and application the collected

systematically arranged data to tourism, it assists caretakers to be prepared for the requirements of the visitor, and thirdly decision makers, professional bodies and authorities possess a full set of data, to select the relevant ones for their own purposes. The management of heritage sites requires new methodologies in the subject of supervision, planning, administration, control and organisation, marketing. The first step is the search for values, their systematic arrangement and the

Image 4. Rural Heritage House in Fertőszéplak, world heritage site. (Photo: Gábor Madarász)



Foundation for Information Society

establishment of the database. It can be done by the contribution of both heritage conservators including folklore experts and IT persons. It is not a one-time job but continuous research, system building and updating. Next, the state of conservation is

including their availability. It would also be necessary from their point of view as generally assistance is expected on their behalf as well. Central participation could be appreciated in many cases as these houses country are far scattered from all around the central monument

preservation. (Image 4) These examples as have also to be

recorded and decision is to be made about the restoration or just the “preservation” of the objects. The monitoring activity also requires organisation and decision making. Regularity and frequency of the available data updating must also be identified. A change managing form is to be filled in and dispatched, collected, processed involved entrance visitors and in fees, and classified. reporting about The of the areas include executed existing this procedure considered conservation activities

although not in the traditional sense. They are using the results achieved in other research areas like financial and banking systems from where we are able to transfer them to the cultural sphere of the economy. The additional value of these systems is that they involve an economical and financial feature in the areas of culture where it is badly needed. All over the world funding culture is a delicate problem: it is indispensable, nevertheless is under-financed and therefore not sufficiently supplied with state-ofthe-art technology solutions.

repairs, and modification in the number of publications. For the sites, it should be made mandatory (or preferably automatic or evident) to report changes especially of addresses, owners, care takers,




Dr. Lia Bassa
contact: Dr. Lia Bassa is a researcher at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Heritage Relations of the She is an Expert in Contact Address: Irinyi József str. 31/A 1111 Budapest, Mail: 1507 Budapest, PO Box 213 Phone: (36-1-) 279 1510 Fax: (36-1-) 279-1511 E-mail:




and the Managing Director Foundation for Information


She holds a MA in English and French literature and linguistics as well as a Ph.D in English literature. She is the author and co-author of numerous articles and lectures on

World Heritage management, heritage preservation, among which heritage SHAMAN conservation, Shared

Heritage Archives Management Across Networks, Hiradástechnika, 2005/5

Foundation For Information Society
98 e_conserv@tion

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Documentation and Architecture Conservation:

La Villetta Cemetery in Parma, Italy
(part 1)

Cemeteries as Heritage Monument La Villetta, the Main Cemetery in Parma A Cemetery Information System


Cemeteries as Heritage Monument

Experiences for Conservation and Rehabilitation of La Villetta in Parma

Except for the mausoleums, dedicated to distinguished people, other memorials are usually gathered in specific resting locations: places. necropolises, the city of the dead, or cemeteries, meaning Aiming to represent the city of the living on a transcendent level, together with the respect for the dead, cemeteries have also been related to hygienic matters, with a neat division between the living city and the dead one. Christianity used to bury inside or nearby churches, until the Illuminists imposed again burial sites outside the city walls, issuing new specific norms and standards, which are reflected in the urban drawing of modern settlements.

By Michela Rossi

Cemeteries important

are, matter

first for






the and

symbolic its



monuments. In fact, death constitutes an each individual’s social life; it is expressed by figuration and symbols, and according to religious beliefs, each culture develops forms and rituals closely related to each other. The anthropologists identify cultures by the treatment many given to corpses, and of the in which funeral artefacts formality comes from funerary these attention




modern cemeteries into open-air museums. This is why each cemetery constitutes a significant heritage, as the main gathering point for the community values.

outfits are involved. The high level of architectural monuments

given to the material quality of the final residence, where the memory is kept alive. Thus, each monument is very distinctive and the gravity given to the passage from life to death is a common feature, which explains the accuracy of the funeral gifts and symbols.
Image 1: The Villeta Cemetery. The today image.


Michela Rossi






The mapping is difficult because of the complexity of the of the settlements, and the where micro elements such as the urban scale fencing cemetery architecture of each individual tomb differ greatly in dimensions. This complexity is reflected in the management, which inevitably affects the general maintenance of the monuments. The ambiguous scale of the cemetery and the big number of monuments in it are some of the main problems concerning their conservation. The research work carried out in Parma and in the Villetta cemetery itself constitutes a significant example on this matter.

identifying element of a society, and thus, all of them should be preserved just like any other historical will building. give Their great rehabilitation also

improvement to the urban environment. Cemeteries are a miniature of the city, reproducing its developing process and presenting the same managing issues and thus their conservation and valorisation strategies should be similar. The main focus is on the structure’s functionality, including changes required to respect the new work safety standards, which could contrast buildings. with the preservation of the


Image 2, 3. The Villetta Cemetery in Parma. The original plan. Image 4. General view of the cemetery, historic image.




Cemeteries as Heritage Monument

La Villetta is the largest burial site of the town, with several memorials, documenting the activity of the main local artists from the last two centuries. The general planning and the site settlement date back to a debate from the previous century; the original drawings and the essay are still available. The historic cemetery, requiring structural repairs and general rehabilitation, is like a condominium where private properties or rights, rented and perpetual allotments coexist: the Octagon contains more than 600 tombs and 400 family aedicule (see Carmen Nuzzo, in no. 2/2007 of e_conservation magazine). Together with the chapels inside the two galleries and the monuments in the porch walls, there is an overall of about 1.500 units, many of which are extremely valuable.



Images from La Villetta Cemetery 5. The entrance 6. The northern gallery 7. Detail of the arcade 8. The main alley


e_conserv@tion 103




Monuments from La Villetta Cemetery. Details of chapel architecture, sculptures and decorative motifs. 9. Marchesi’s Chapel 10. Leoni’s Chapel 11, 12, 13, 14. Sculptures decorating the chapels




Cemeteries as Heritage Monument

The research work revealed a multiplicity of elements, scales and issues, requiring specific tools and planning of the work that lead to the drawing of a Geographic Information System (GIS) (see Cecilia Tedeschi, A Cemetery Information System). The architectonic filing of the monumental part of the Villetta Cemetery has been executed between within the of conventions of Parma Civil promoted and the City

The architectonic filing, supported by a quite exhaustive archive research, has been executed in 2005. Nowadays, after some years of study about different projects directly derived from the first one, it is possible to appreciate this experience in relation with the conservation policy, as a first step to the historical cemetery rehabilitation. The final goal of the filing job was to circumscribe the historic-monumental part of the biggest city cemetery and of all the other cemeteries of the City Council, before proceeding to write a “Cemetery Planning” (called PCm), now required by law. The the cataloguing starting that has for been a therefore long term produced point has



Environment, Territory and Architecture of the local University. This project constitutes a specific type of survey plotting in urban scale architecture knowledge, becoming a useful example for any work of this kind. The enrichment of the existing work is possible, since GIS allows projections, editing and future updates.



some deliverables, like the PCm (see

Image 15. The southern gallery.



Michela Rossi







The next step was to build a digital cadastre of the cemetery, which is considered important for the conservation management and for the future planning. Most of the properties are temporary and the placements are reused every 10 years (simple earth burials), 40 years (single coffin place) or 99 years (family chapels), depending on the building type. Only the porch arcades and the chapels into the twin galleries seem to be perpetual particular estate. These projects have also evidenced the possible economic significance, with important profits for the conservation of the monument. Although the historic cemetery constitutes an open-air museum by itself, it would be wrong to underestimate the funerary value. To be preserved, it should not be transformed in a mere tourist attraction, but it would be advisable to guide the visitors along the path of its significance. The historical importance of burial architecture needs to be popularized, and the community should be more aware of such valuable artistic monuments. Because of its characteristics, the entire GIS cannot be destined to the general public. It is available for professionals and experts such as the cemetery managing offices, restorers and academics, but for the public different strategies should be developed.

e_conservation magazine), and by now it is possible to foresee the next steps. The cemeteries are complex systems that, from an architectonic point of view, introduce one ambiguous scale between the city’s main structures and the microarchitecture of the particular burials, with constructions inserted one inside the other like China boxes. Besides that, the architecture often merges with the artistic objects, making difficult the distinction between them. The first result of the cataloguing has been the location of the monumental zone, characterised by the historical memorials built before or short after the Second World War. Italian law imposes special attention to public buildings more than 50 years the old. study and rules The of cataloguing analogous has the introduced the

behaviours between the city organism and cemetery the therefore for writing delineated

Cemetery Planning. Meanwhile, the physic importance of the burial settlement historic core required a new specific plan for the right monumental zone (see Elisa Adorni, in no. 2/2007 of e_conservation magazine), in order to guarantee the protection and the rehabilitation monument. of the cemetery as a



Cemeteries as Heritage Monument

The historical significance of the cemetery could be better explained by including a “digital museum” into the structure. A “virtual visit” will help the visitor to fully understand encourage Simone a the architecture visit. no. and We will have of was personal in





project should allow future enrichments and additions on sculptures, people and other issues. This new database of selected objects will the only contain the most to relevant be more material of the previous project, allowing Informative System accessible, accomplishing its promotional aim. Therefore, it seems useful to publish a critical reading of gathered material because the knowledge must be shared. If cemeteries are the memorials of our civic heritage, the evidence of this experience is that knowledge is the first steps towards their conservation and rehabilitation.

begun to work on a virtual guide (see Riccardi, 2/2007 that e_conservation magazine)

conceived like a selective and selected database with classified access to the GIS. The collected documentation, already converted into digital format, is suitable to be added in a HTML structure, building an interactive database with objects descriptions, pictures, drawings, written

The South-East Gallery

west front east front

north front south front



Michela Rossi


The Main Cemetery in Parma

By Michela Rossi

La Villetta Cemetery (image 1) is the main funerary ground in Parma and it represents one of the most valuable monuments of the city. The cemetery is characterized by many historically rich artefacts, valuable century. owning local a great amount of documentation collected

Besides its artistic value, this monument is interesting because it is related to the development of a new urban type, short after Napoleon forbade burials within cities. It was built between 1819 and 1823 on behalf of last Napoleon’s wife Maria Luigia of Habsburg (image 2), who became Duchess of Parma when he was exiled in St. Helen Island.

from the 19th century throughout the 20th

Image 1. La Villetta Cemetery in Parma, general view.



La Villetta

Image 2. Portrait of Maria Luigia of Habsburg, duchess of Parma (Napoleon’s last wife)

The cemetery takes its name from a farm with a villa, built on the site by the Jesuits in the 17th century G. the (image 3). The This construction works were planned by the council project engineer involved on Cocconcelli. all social directly citizens, hierarchy,


following the example of what was done with the Teatro Regio (Royal Theatre). Any maintenance or repair expense was shared citizens. The original structure recalls the neoclassical tradition; Maria Luigia chose this path for many of the representative buildings that she ordered during her time. The constructing rules were founded
Image 3. The previous estate with Jesuits’s Villa.








Michela Rossi


symmetry neat and as

giving final

a look, reveal

geometrically Both areas

where everything is determined. objects definite themselves in this

complex. The system follows the human and urban hierarchies and respects their values: a city in the city where the physical of where and the
Image 4. The plan of the cemetery.

typological “living”

divisions and

architecture follow those of the society, the burials are located according to the class, the religion and the death circumstances of the deceased. The fencing is square shaped on the outside with an eight side porch needs inside of of 156 and spans, laic originally destined to the burial religious confraternities, noble families and private lettings (image 4). Meaning the passage to a new life, octagon is a usual layout in the symbolic language of architecture, especially in baptisteries. The coffins were laid into burial crypts, under the porch arcades; each crypt was able to host about 50 bodies. The archways, completed in 1862, were built directly on behalf of the owners following plan, of a common while a the architectural the approval

internal decorations – subject to chosen
Image 5. The porch arcades.

committee – were free, minding



La Villetta

that the passage along the porch would not be compromised. The services are located along the perimeter: the mortuary and the oratory in line with the entrance. The internal area, divided in four fields, was destined to public burials and to the individual monuments located on the sides of the main avenue (image 5). Different functions were assigned to the four triangular areas: the charnel house, the non-catholic cemeteries, people sentenced to death and the suicides close to the executioner and his family, and lastly the children who were born dead or who died before being baptized. These four angular sectors were finished by 1856, but in 1864 the Hebrew sector required enlargement. The expansion of the cemetery started in the last quarter of the 19th century with the addition of two twin galleries for the placement of more coffins and family chapels. The base is Latin cross shaped and the galleries are accessible from two breakthroughs in the central arches of







Gallery, built between 1876 and 1884, is neoclassical, with lowered barrel shaped arches (image 7), while the North Gallery – influenced by innovative projects in 1880, and later in 1893 – was built by Sante Bergamaschi between 1898 and 1905, with square shaped arches and

Image 6. Bergamaschi’s project for two twin galleries. (1872)

Image 7. The southern gallery.



Michela Rossi

eclectic stylistic elements (image 8). The initial purpose was to reserve this area as the famedio (Fame Temple) for distinguished citizens. The use of the two fields adjacent to the two main galleries dates back to the beginning of 1900, and in 1921 the cemetery was enlarged by including the Cinghio area and raising the South–East Gallery (image 9). The new porch in the Perimetrical Gallery (image 10) was built between 1931 and 1935; in this enclosure there are First and Second World War memorials. The oldest tombs, still visible in the central field, date back to 1830; nevertheless in the 20th century it became popular to start building family aedicule. Between 1925 and 1940 the concentration of construction works increased, funding the building of the Northern Porch thanks to the ground licensing fees paid by the privates. Padre Lino’s Cloister was built in 1947 in the corner that had already been destined to prisoners and suicides. Padre Lino was a loved Franciscan chaplain who worked in the prison for many years. This was the last important transformation of the historical part of the urban cemetery, now enclosed in its own growth.

Image 8. The northern gallery. (up) Image 9. The south-east gallery. (midlle) Image 10. The northern arcade. (down)



The Cemetery Information System

By Cecilia Tedeschi

projections and editing to be open for future projects; it also allows new data to be inserted and to fill in the system with any new remarks and juridical updates. The aim is to create a digital cemetery cadastre, which will allow the management and the future planning to run smoothly.

Cemeteries are complex structures, with an ambiguous definition between urban and architectural scale. This makes their architectural GIS survey and information Systems) plotting difficult. (Geographic Information are the best available software to visually simplify the complex relationship between these records miniature with the cities most and the architecture. They allow the collection of important homogeneous data; each record can be connected with files of different digital formats, such as photographs and images, vectorial drawings, texts, etc. no matter how many they are - and each record is connected to a general map, to make easier the data reading. ArcView software, used to develop this project, belongs to the GIS family and is commonly used in agriculture and city management, also by the Parma’s City Council Offices and it has been chosen to collect all the information gathered about the cemetery of La Villetta. The possibility able of to adopting scan the a Digital System structures Some of the criteria involved in the creation of the database and of the informative tables can be listed as follows: - Physical and juridical identification; - Documentation; - Style; - Typology; - Materials and the construction techniques of the units; - Preservation state; etc. Some of these parameters change according to the typology of the unit and therefore have been sorted by quantity. The Information System includes and organises all the gathered information and all the available architectonical remarks.
Image 1. The Information System. Historic, technical, artistic information and photographic documentation.

presents a great advantage as it allows

The Cemetery Information System

The tables count more than 1500 records, 3462 attached – files and – a images collection and of bibliographies

compilation of synthetic cards in which the data has been inserted in specific fields regarding property, information the about the and, legal when architecture

architectonical remarks divided by units, dimension, relevance, with different scales according constitutes to a their size. This project for involved a thorough scanning work, which great knowledge architecture, allowing new generations to enrich the work that already exists. The first phase of the project was to define how to perform the restitution of all the collected information. In this phase the cemetery has been the arena that allowed verifying the effectiveness of the various instruments of architectural survey and the respective modalities of restitution. The relative scale and absolute dimension determining understanding of the of objects the were to the the elements related

possible, the construction licence. The archive material has turned out to be richer than initially supposed and thus GIS became the frame where to insert nonhomogeneous information (data, drawings, photographs and documents) which subsequently allows the specific consultation of this material. Altogether the research can be divided in two branches: - The data collection and the comparison of the archive documents with the actual units; - The database organisation. The whole historic cemetery has been divided described records. The main criteria involved in the creation of the database and of its informative tables can be listed as follows: - Physical and juridical identification; - Architectural description (style, typology, ornaments and decoration, materials photos); - Maintenance state; - Archive references. All information is geographically linked to single sectors and units by which the system allow quick thematic researches, based on keywords, and offers the possibility to search information about

into by

homogeneous specific and




settlement real consistency. The use of a GIS, as ArcView software, offers many advantages, especially concerning the new data update which is one of the most important requirements for the survey. Therefore, the job has been carried out proceeding to the correction and integration of the available architectural surveys, to the writing of a bibliography and a list of documents conserved in the city main archives (State Archive for documents before 1861, and City Archive for later). The data has been located according homogenous to hierarchical portions, levels of respectively




sectors and units. This has involved the

Cecilia Tedeschi

each small architecture (unit) inside it, simply from its map. So the “La Villetta Information and it System” the includes all the gathered information on architecture organises available data. The records count more than 3500 attached files, including the vectorial files of available architectural surveys, which have different scales according to the building size. The system is also available for later implementation

with new data, such as the artistic filling of decorative objects. In this way, GIS helps to investigate the complexity of cemeteries and offers itself as the best software available to simplify the survey plotting of different scales that have to be studied together, demonstrating its powerful significance in architectural knowledge and monument conservation, besides cemetery management.

116 e_conserv@tion

La Villetta Cemetery in Parma

MICHELA ROSSI graduated in Architecture degree at University of Florence in 1985 and in 1993 became PhD in Architectural Survey and Representation at University of Palermo. Since 2002 she is associate professor of Architectural Drawing at University of Parma. In the past, she has been working at University of Florence and Palermo. Her research is focused on the relation between urban settlements and landscape with the study of historic water management and geometric patterns around Parma, proto-industrial and territorial development. Since 2001 she has directed architectural surveys of La Villetta cemetery in Parma, working on several conservation projects.

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, dell’Ambiente, del Territorio e Architettura, Università degli Studi di Parma web: email: CECILIA TEDESCHI PhD in Civil Engineering at University of Parma, graduated in Architecture in Milan. She is interested in CAD and GIS applications to historic architectural representation and collaborates in several important architectural surveys.

Main Publications
M. Rossi, “L’ornamento costruito - L’uso del laterizio e l’adattamento delle forme dell’ordine dalla tradizione romana al classicismo padano” (about build ornaments. The use of brickwork in Po Valley classicism), Disegnare, n° 13, Gangemi Editore, Roma (1996) (English and French abstract). E. Mandelli, M. Rossi, “Itinerari religiosi nel Mugello - Pievi e Pivieri”, Materia e Geometria 7/98, Firenze, Alinea (1998) M. Rossi, “Waterways in surveys and drawings: water management and the geometric patterns of the landscape around Parma”, in Disegnare n° 26, Gangemi Editore, Roma (2003) (full English translation) M. Rossi, “Strade d’acqua - navigli canali e manufatti idraulici nel parmense”, Mattioli, Fidenza (2004) M. Rossi, “Nature’s architectures and built forms: Structures and surfaces between Idea and Design”, Nexus Network Journal, vol. 8, n°1/06, Birkhauser, Basel (2006) M. Rossi, a cura di, “Città perduta – architetture ritrovate, L’Ottagono del Cimitero della Villetta e altre architetture funerarie a Parma”, Quaderni di architetture, Ets, Pisa (2007)

Essential References
M. Ragon, “L’espace de la mort – Essai sur l’architecture, la decoration et l’urbanisme funéraires”, Albin Michel, Paris (1981) H. Colvin, “Architecture and the after-life”, Yale University Press, New haven and London, 1991 A.A. V.V., “Monuments de mémoire”, M.P.C.I.H., Paris, (1991) E. Bacino, “I Golfi del silenzio. Iconografie funerarie e cimiteri d’Italia”, Firenze (1991) P. Albisinni, “l disegno della memoria. Storia rilievo e analisi grafica dell’architettura funeraria del XIX secolo”, Edizioni Kappa, Roma (1995) L. Bertolaccini, “Città e cimiteri: dall’eredità medioevale alla codificazione ottocentesca”, Edizioni Kappa, Roma (2004) M. Felicori, a cura di, “Gli spazi della memoria, Architettura dei cimiteri monumentali europei”, Luca Sossella Editore (2005) G. Gonizzi, “I luoghi della storia I/II/III, in Atlante topografico parmigiano”, PPS Editrice, p.30 e sgg., Parma (2001)


heritage in dange

“All cultures and societies are rooted in the particular forms and means of tangible and intangible expression, which constitute their heritage. The diversity of cultures and heritage in our world is an irreplaceable source of spiritual and intellectual richness for all humankind.”
From Nara Document on Authenticity (1994)

In a world of globalisation and homo genisation, the cultural heritage diversity emphasises the cultural identity through its authenticity. We usually blame the lack of money when a monument or an object of patrimony is left out of protection, but more often the lack of the sensitive perception or interest are the main factors. Nevertheless, financial issues are important and can influence the moment of intervention, due to the various national and international classifications respectively, particular priorities. of the But the place on heritage owned the by list and a of so,




monuments that are restored regardless their unique contextual values are going to fail soon the historical future selection. We have examples in the magazine when, due to the devotion and management vision, vernacular heritage was not only saved but also regained its existence in its original particular context. Local traditions were resuscitated and locals involved in projects gained awareness about their rich valuable identity.
Image from the church “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist”, Narthex, detail from the triumphal arch and the iconostasis. Romania, Suceava County. Photo taken by Anca Dină in 2006.






Heritage in Danger

The present state of the monuments from Stăneşti (left) and Popeşti (right), Romania. Photos taken by Serban Bonciocat in 2007.

Therefore, trough this section dedicated to heritage in danger, we are trying to reduce the indifference and to bring back the sensitive, insightful view of cultural heritage images appreciation. and short By presenting of the descriptions

endangered monuments from all over the world, we can assess the risks or draw attention to urgent situations and, hopefully, find possible solutions. Anybody who wishes to draw the attention over monuments in this situation is warmly encouraged to participate.

“Approaches should also build on and facilitate international cooperation among all those with an interest in conservation of cultural heritage, in order to improve global respect and understanding for the diverse expressions and values of each culture”.
From Nara Document on Authenticity



book revie


Book Review

The development of preventative strategies for large textile collections in the long term use is essential. The idea of this book came to the author after his PhD research of the textile collections of the most important Orthodox monastic centre in the Eastern of of Church fourteen called from Holy the Mountain surveys preventive Athos. Results

ISBN: 960-6654-08-7 Publisher: Futura Publications, Athens 2006 Language: Greek Prefaces by Prof. Helen Ioakeimoglou - Technological Educational Institute, Conservation of Antiquities & Works of Art Department and Prof. Katerina Korre-Zografou - University of Athens- History and Folklore Department

inhabitant rather than

monasteries suggest the need to prioritise conservation, interventive conservation. The recently of published custodians, Mount Athos, book such as advises as well the as

The book is divided into the following chapters: 1. Preventive Conservation 2. Documentation 2.1 Sampling: Method & Greek Law 2.2 Fibre Identification (Analytical Equipment Techniques) 2.3 Primary Weaving Techniques 3. Main Chemical, Mechanical & Biological Types of Damages 4. Environmental Conditions: 4.1 Relative Humidity-Temperature 4.2 Lighting 4.2.1 Types of Museum Lighting 5. Insect Attack and the protection of textiles 6. Pollution & Dust 7. Transportation 8. Water Disaster: First Aids 9. Storage: 9.1. Storage Materials 9.2. Storage Materials: Finishing Removals 10. Conservation: 10.1 Ethical Considerations for the Conservation of the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Textiles 10.2 Detergents 11. List of International Organisations in Conservation, Museum Studies and Culture Heritage 12. Further Reading List 13. References 14. Appendixes: Documentation Report for Textile artefacts.

ecclesiastical monks

students in the fields of conservation and archaeology, curators and others who have limited experience in the preservation of textiles. This book develops awareness the deals among current with pest

non-specialists, documentation

underlines methods,

preventive conservation policy, proposes indoor environmental conditions, infected objects, archival

control and freezing methods for treating materials, methods of storage and the display of two - and three - dimensional textiles based on modern museological ethics. More information or inquiries should be directed to: Christos Karydis,, or to the publisher,



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