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the online magazine No. 12, December 2009
Sustainability in Conservation-Restoration
By the time this editorial is published the Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 will be going on. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect upon the relationship between conservation-restoration and the rest of the world in general, and more precisely, its sustainability. Nowadays sustainability as a word has become almost a cliché, however its concept should be reconsidered. The term sustainability is most commonly used when referring to environment but it is quite rarely used in conservation issues. However, our activity does affect other areas, having a particularly direct impact on three main sectors which are all interconnected: works of art, environment and society. Obviously the correct intervention on works of art is the main focal point of we professionals, but there are some factors that have not yet been assessed well enough, such as the real consequences of repetitive interventions on the same artwork. The environment involves not only the short-term consequences of our decisions but more so the long-term consequences which are, if not disregarded, often ignored. We are becoming evermore aware of our carbon footprint and indeed carbon is mainly responsible for climate change. We tend to forget that there are many processes that could be more eco-friendly than most of our usual professional practices. And finally, society because it involves a wide set of factors such as cultural tourism or the socio-economical impact of conservation. The technological revolution that our society is going through has had a positive influence on our methodologies and even some of our techniques. However conservation practice in workshops has not changed that much in past few decades. In fact, new equipment and materials may be available to us but the practical work is still performed in the same basic ways. Being aware of the sustainability factor could even be understood as a measure of preventive conservation. The best practical methods are already dictating principles that reduce and minimise consumption; for example, the use of ‘cold’ lights in exhibitions is art and environment-friendly. However, best practices are not always the priority concerns that we may take into our workshops. For example, what exactly do we do with the remains of the solvents? Do we all store and then deliver them to a specialised residue company? Unfortunately, I’m afraid not. In the case of solvents, very few are innocuous for ourselves or the environment, they are dangerous and extremely toxic, even cancerous. Still, they are vital for conservation procedures such as consolidation or cleaning. From this point of view, the use of gels was a major breakthrough as it helps to significantly reduce the actual amount of solvents that are later released into the environment or manipulated by the technician. The use of laser technology is non-toxic and is already a common practice in stone-based materials but there is still much research to be done about its use on organic materials. But are there really any ecological treatments? Is there any research being carried out in this field? Not to my knowledge. The use of nanomaterials (solvent-free) is advancing in huge steps and its application to conservation should be better considered, not only because of its impact but also for ethical concerns. It would be interesting to assess the consequences of our profession on the environment, on society and even on the economy. The study of these aspects is still at a teething stage. We lack much information which may be required to make decisions and to take on responsibility for more conscientious practices. Although this subject is normally not discussed on the international sphere, there will be a conference in May 2010 in Barcelona organized by Grup Tècnic precisely about these issues that promises to be extremely interesting. A ‘must go’ in my opinion. Rui Bordalo Editor in Chief
NEWS & VIEWS
Let’s Pin the ‘Long Tail’ on the Conservation Donkey
By Daniel Cull
REVIEWS I Symposium on Conservation-Restoration of Golden Woodcarving and Sculpture. Preserving the past, Securing the Future
November 26-27, 2009, Porto, Portugal Review by Rui Bordalo
COST Training School: WoodCultHer Wood destroying insects, fungi and moulds decay on wooden cultural heritage objects and constructions
March 16-20, 2009, Hamburg, Germany Review by Oana Chachula
The 3rd Conservation-Restoration Workshop for the Artistic Components of Historic Monuments
October 14-16, 2009, Bucharest, Romania Review by Anca Dinã
EVENTS PROJECTS ARTICLES
UPCOMING EVENTS & CALL FOR PAPERS
January - February 2009
Conservation in Action: Welcome to the “CSI Lab”
by Virginie Ternisien
Examination of Some Inorganic Pigments and Plaster Layers from Excavations at Saqqara area, Egypt Optical Microscopy and SEM-EDS Microanalysis
by Hussein Hassan M.H. Mahmoud
Les dilemmes philosophiques de la conservation-restauration
by Pierre Leveau
Detached Mural Paintings in Portugal The Conservation-Restoration of the Fragments from the Alberto Sampaio Museum in Guimarães
by Maria Alice de Sousa Cotovio
Mudejar Ceilings. Study, Conservation and Restoration
by Carlos José Abreu da Silva Costa
news & view
LET’S PIN THE ‘LONG TAIL’ ON THE CONSERVATION DONKEY
By Daniel Cull “It was play rather than work which enabled man to evolve his higher faculties - everything we mean by the word ‘culture’.”
(Herbert Read) 
Conservators often consider ourselves natural collaborators, and we do tend to play well with others, but, what do we actually mean by collaboration, and could there be scope for wider collaborative efforts? In many respects collaboration entails more than simply 'working together', the hope is that through bringing different people together the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts; creating a result that could not have been achieved had the people been working individually and collated their results. Collaboration then suggests that in fact 1 + 1 really does equal 3. Traditionally collaborative efforts required institutional support, necessitating considerable costs, principally in terms of management and oversight. However, with the advent of social media communication costs have dropped, meaning institutional methodologies are no longer the only feasible collaborative method. An alternative vision for collaboration is beginning to develop. This system relies not on the inevitable 'professional class' created by institutions but on the mass-
Photo by twopinkpossums. Some rights reserved.
amateurization created by social media, systems that allow users to co-ordinate their own co-operation. Although unable to direct and control the collaboration there is a greater degree of flexibility and access to a wider group of collaborators, because such online collaborations invariable make use of the ‘power law’ distribution; also known as ‘The Long Tail’. This law makes use of all possible contributions, no matter how small, a model that would be economically untenable for any institution. As these new systems fight for space with existing institutionalized approaches we are entering a period of chaos, that may be as far reaching as that instigated by the printing press. The lack of scribes in contemporary society suggests that we can predict the outcome of this period of change and if “we can see it coming, we might as well get good at it” . How our institutions reconfigure themselves to the changing media landscape will determine their ability to survive and remain useful for our profession and for society as a whole. For contemporary conservators, influenced by an ongoing “revolution of common sense” , it is
incumbent upon us as a profession to consider models of collaboration that allows everyone public and professional - to play a part, in their own way, for such methods might assist us in understanding the values and significance material culture plays for different people. Furthermore, if “conservators provide a paradigm not just for fixing things when they are broken, but for a wider social ethos of care, where we individually and collectively take responsibility and action” , the development of a public conservation discourse could be considered a social duty. As a profession then social media might allow us to hold a far reaching discussion that many recognize as necessary but have not yet been able to develop into a reality. So, while the world is spinning us around and confusing us in terms of which direction to take, let’s remember that culture should be fun, there should be an element of play and experimentation within our approaches, culture should be joyous and lived not stuffy and dull, let’s think in terms of a children’s party games and together find a way to pin the long tail of collaboration on the conservation donkey .
Notes  H. Read, Anarchy & Order; Poetry & Anarchism, 1938  C. Shirky, Institutions Vs. Collaboration, TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, 2005; available at URL  S. Muñoz-Viñas, Contemporary Theory of Conservation, Elsevier ButterworthHeinemann, London, 2005  J. Holden and S. Jones, It’s A Material World: Caring for the public realm, Demos, London, 2008; available at URL [pdf]  ‘Pin the tail on the Donkey’ is a children’s game, see URL
Conservator The Musical Instrument Museum Daniel Cull is a Conservator, Wikipedian, Social Networker, and Blogger from the West Country of the British Isles. Trained at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, where he received a BSc in Archaeology, MA in Principles of Conservation, and an MSc in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums. He was later awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the National Museum of the American Indian/Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. He currently works as an ethnographic musical instrument conservator at the Musical Instrument Museum, in Arizona. Website: http://dancull.wordpress.com Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
I SYMPOSIUM ON CONSERVATION-RESTORATION OF GOLDEN WOODCARVING AND SCULPTURE Preserving the past, Securing the Future
Review by Rui Bordalo November 26-27, 2009 Porto, Portugal Organiser: Portucalense University http://www.uportu.pt/
The Portucalense University (UPT) organised last 26 and 27 of November the I Symposium on Conservation-Restoration of Golden Woodcarving and Sculpture (I Simpósio Conservação e Restauro da Talha e Escultura – Preservar o passado, garantir o futuro). The conference took place at the university auditorium in Porto, Portugal. UPT is a private higher education institution, created in 1986, that offers a Bachelor in Conservation and Restoration within the Education Sciences and Heritage Department. It was through this Bachelor that the symposium was organised. The event meant to bring together several specialists, both from academy and companies, to discuss the latest technologies, methodologies and interventions on golden woodcarving and sculpture, with an emphasis on recent projects
from the north of Portugal. One of the interesting aspects of this symposium is that several students helped to organize it, among which some even presented communications. This is due to the fact that some students are professionals already working in the field, and with many years of experience, with several backgrounds and trainings. The present degree they are now undertaking is an effort to obtain a certified training within the latest education model, the Bologna process. The morning session was started by Dr. José Tedim, art historian and professor at UPT, with an interesting and personal insight into the several workshops of religious sculptures that existed in Porto during the XIX and early XX centuries. There were several important workshops at that time that created many of the sculptures that are still in churches from Porto and the north region of Portugal. It was explained how these workshops evolved, how the locations of these artistic centres changed in time between the margins of the Douro river and their relationship with other well-known centre of religious imaginary, in Braga. A curious mention was that Dr. Tedim shares several personal memories of this subject, as his family was run one of the major workshops at that time.
Main entrance of Universidade Portucalense.
Opening ceremony. From left to right: Dr. Fátima Matos Silva, Dr. Isabel Freitas, Dr. José Tedim, António Pereira and Sofia Faria.
Mr. António Pereira, conservator-restorer of sculpture and student at UPT, presented the practical case of wood treatment of the altar and sculpture of the Holy Spirit of Moreira do Lima chapel. The wood was particularly weakened by an attack of wood boring insects. This attack was serious as several structural timbers became instable jeopardising the entire altar. Among other operations, the intervention included the disassembly of the structure and the disinfestations and the stabilisation of the support. Although the ethical criteria were always kept in mind, including that of the minimum intervention, there were some elements that had to be replaced to ensure the structural integrity. At the end, some relevant issues concerning the future maintenance of the altar were discussed. The afternoon session was started by arch. José Falcão, director of the Department of Historic and Artistic Heritage from the Diocese of Beja, on the inventory project that the diocese undertook. Beja is located in the south of Portugal and it is the religious centre of the region of Alentejo, which is perhaps as large as it is rich in heritage. The size of the region and the elderly population are among the factors that allowed an increase in theft of cultural heritage. In 1985, the Department of Historic and Artistic Heritage was created and with
it the mission of making an inventory of religious heritage. This was an important step as it was the first diocese to implement such a project leading the path to all the others. Among other factors, the inventory has allowed to (re)discover works of art, to bring the population closer to their heritage and even to promote conservation and restoration interventions. The next talk was given by Graça Lobo, conservator and student at UPT, who prepared a communication based on her latest interventions on golden woodcarving. I never stop being surprised by some study cases such as this, where a chapel altar that was disassembled by some mysterious reason was scattered across several houses and barns. The contact with the population in this case was very important as it succeeded to bring many pieces of the altar together, some of which appeared anonymously. Although the altar was in poor conservation state, it was possible to assembly most of it. The afternoon session continued with an intervention by Fernando Ribeiro, from the Center of Conservation and Restoration in Viseu, who continued the series of communications focused on wooden supports. His intervention was somehow radical as he defended that at the moment there are plenty
professionals having a strong theoretical knowledge but lacking a good practical experience that should be given during the university years. Even more, he went further condemning many recently trained professionals to “hide under the principles of conservation, such as the minimum intervention principle, to minimise the lack of their practical knowledge”. This was the source of an interesting but rather short discussion in the debate, as these topics are difficult to discuss being always limited to the speaker’s competences. After a much needed coffee-break, it was my own turn, as conservator-restorer and professor at UPT, to speak about the use of laser technology for the cleaning of polychromies with a focus on polychromed sculpture and golden woodcarving. I believe that the majority of conservator-restorers are still not familiarised with this technology which is still in research stage for its use in polychromy, and so my intervention started with the explanation of the technique, equipments and the possible practical uses. However, there are many technical and physical problems that prevent lasers from being used for cleaning polychromed sculpture on a standardised basis. Concerning the golden woodcarving, research has shown that laser cleaning is a promising technique although few study cases are available. The last presentation of the day was given by Micaela Duarte, conservator-restorer and professor at UPT, who introduced the audience to an inventory project that is being performed with the Diocese of Braga and the Museum of Alberto Sampaio, in Guimarães. The undergoing project gathers several teams that catalogue all the works of art from the churches in the diocese of Braga and, whenever possible, prepare a room to serve as archival room of the catalogued pieces. It was interesting to see that some churches rediscovered pieces they didn’t know they have.
The second day of the symposium was started with a presentation of arch. Raquel Oliveira in place of Ernesto Oliveira, professional and student at UPT, who performed an intervention to a series of paintings from a chapel in Vila do Conde. The chapel is somehow special as it is located just near the Atlantic ocean, which favoured a long term exposure to humidity. The intervention was focused on the 40 panel paintings from the ceiling that were separated by gilded frames. Although the treatment of the paintings was without particular interest, the treatment of the wooden support and the reassembly of the paintings and frames became the focus of the intervention, which entailed interesting aspects such as the air circulation near the ceiling due to the proximity of the ocean. André Varela Remígio, conservator-restorer of sculpture, spoke about the intervention he performed on the reliquaries of the sanctuary of the
Views of the auditory during the conference.
Monastery of St. Mary of Alcobaça. 48 busts and 10 arms from different saints were treated during this intervention. It should be mentioned that this intervention was published in the issue number 11 of e-conservation. Adriana Amaral, from the North Regional Delegation of Culture in Porto, presented “Integrated Heritage”. During the communication, numerous examples of built heritage, namely churches, retables and sculptures were shown, including their conservation state before and after the intervention. The danger heritage faces due to lack of maintenance, among others factors, was underlined. Inumerous photos were shown of an incredible poor conservation state demonstrating that, unfortunately, people that are responsible for heritage are not always aware of how (or sadly even why) that same heritage should be conserved. Dr. Luisa Reis Lima, art historian and professor at UPT, introduced the audience to the study of the golden woodcarving of Braga, which was one of the most prolific centres in the production of altars. The problematic of past ‘renovations’ on golden woodcarving that have altered permanently many of altars with the loss of important artistic, and historic, information was highlighted. The afternoon session started with the presentation of Dr. João Oliveira, coordinator of Criminal Investigation from the Judiciary Police (PJ), entitled “Criminal Prevention on the Culture Domain: the Judiciary Police Projects”. The investigation of art theft is, under the Portuguese law, responsibility of the PJ. Police have also a museum dedicated to the works of art that were apprehended and could not be returned to their owners, in most of the cases because they were never claimed or they belong to anonymous owners who do not complain about the thefts. Thus, the police have developed some projects focused on preventing
thefts rather than just solving them. Two projects were initiated - Igreja Segura (Safe Church) and S.O.S. Azulejo (S.O.S. Tiles) - in collaboration with many partners, as alert and sensitisation campaigns with the objective to promote information and safety measures to protect the cultural heritage. The next two presentations focused on the inventory effort that the Diocese of Porto is developing. For a welcomed change, Manuel Amorim, priest and Director of the Department of Church Cultural Assets from the Diocese of Porto, was the only speaker without a PowerPoint presentation, allowing the audience to focus on his words. His talk focused on the history and the human side of the project. Upon request of the Bishop of Porto, the inventory started in 2006. An incipient effort had been made much earlier although based solely on a volunteer basis and did not achieve results due to the lack of human and economic resources. At the present, the Diocese has 6 technicians that are cataloguing churches from the periphery to the centre of Porto. The second speaker, Dr. José Costa, also from the same Department, presented some of the technical details of this project, such as training actions, multimedia applications and safety among others. Dr. Carlos Pombo, specialised photographer of works of art and professor at UPT, made a very interesting presentation concerning the photography of cultural assets and its intricate problems, including aspects like the analog vs. digital preventive measures to have in mind during the photographic session in order to minimise the possible damage to the works of art. As informative as illustrative, it was one of the best presentations from the symposium. Finally, the last presentation was given by arch. Paula Silva, Director of the Services of Cultural Assets of the North Regional Direction in Porto,
who spoke about the intervention case studies on built heritage that were funded within the QREN (National Strategic Reference) framework. From interventions in the historic centre of Porto to complete rehabilitations of monasteries in the north of Portugal, a wide and very complete catalogue of interventions was shown during the presentation in order to illustrate the work performed by the Regional Direction over the past years. I would like to congratulate the organisers for their initiative. It was a successful one, with over 150 attendees, showing that the public has a real interest on this topic. Also, it is always useful to see diverse reports of interventions on important, or less notorious woks of art and other projects that otherwise would be difficult to know about. During this type of conferences I usually find myself thinking that it would be ideal to find a complementary way to keep track of the professional practice on national level besides conferences, although until then this is really the only way to share information in our field.
The News section is publishing diverse information on cultural heritage topics, such as on-site conservation projects reports, conferences, lectures, talks or workshops reviews, but also course reviews and any other kind of appropriate announcements. If you are involved in interesting projects and you want to share your experience with everybody else, please send us your news or announcements. For more details, such as deadlines and publication guidelines, please visit www.e-conservationline.com
Conservator-Restorer Contact: email@example.com Rui Bordalo is conservator-restorer specialised in easel paintings and the Editor in Chief of e-conservation magazine. At the moment he teaches at Universidade Portucalente, in Porto. He is also member of ARP (Associação Profissional de Conservadores-Restauradores de Portugal), and E.C.C.O. (European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organisations) Committee since 2005.
COST TRAINING SCHOOL: WOOD SCIENCE FOR CONSERVATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE (WOODCULTHER) Wood destroying insects, fungi and moulds decay on wooden cultural heritage objects and constructions
Review by Oana Chachula
March 16-20, 2009 Hamburg, Germany Organiser: COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) http://www.cost.esf.org/
The Institute of Wood Technology and Wood Biology of Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut.
During 16-20th March 2009 in Hamburg, Bergedorf (Germany) took place an intensive training workshop focused on the decay of wooden cutural heritage objects and constructions, as part of the COST Actions, program COST IE 0601. The participation was open to young or senior researchers, only upon invitation. The WoodCultHer action of COST project is aimed to enhance the interaction between wood scientists across Europe and to contribute this way towards the development of the study and conservation-restoration of wooden cultural heritage objects. The workshop was organised by Dr. Uwe Noldt, from Wood Technology and Biology Institute, part of the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute. The Institute’s research field comprises beside the usual issues regarding wood structure, its proprieties and qualities, studies about wooden buildings and their preservation as well as studies concerning the wood-environment correlation. The course gathered together attendants and lecturers from all over Europe. Lectures were given
by Dr. Uwe Noldt, Dr. Tobias Huckfeldt, Prof. Dr. Olaf Schmidt, Dr. Wolfram Scheiding (Germany), Dr. Ilze Irbe (Latvia), Prof. Dr. Mitko Karadelev (Macedonia), Dr. Manuel Cesareo Touza Vasquez (Spain), Dr. Lina Nunes (Portugal) and Dr. Livia Bucsa (Romania). The biological degradation of the wooden monuments and objects is both a serious and a sensitive arising issue, that sometimes can only be solved by interdisciplinary collaboration. Therefore the course intended, and succeeded to bring participants from different fields, such as conservatorrestorers, scientists, biologists specialized in mycology or entomology, engineers and PhD students having as common interest the biology investigations, the main subject of this course. Beside the theoretical concepts taught during the lectures, the program included laboratory workshops, visits at the institute’s laboratory, including the experimental ones, and at the Bergedorf farmhouse.
The lectures were divided in two parts. The first part focused on the study and identification of wood destroying insects – (most of the lectures being given by Dr. Uwe Noldt) and in the second part the interest shifted to fungi and moulds analysis. An interesting aspect of the presentations, beside the scientific data, was that the teachers illustrated their papers with case studies regarding the biodegradation, investigation and preventive methods used in their own countries, this internationality bringing various and interesting information to the course. An impressive database concerning the damage of wood-destroying insects characteristic to different timber species collected from all over the world was offered as study material for observations during the laboratory workshops. Moreover the Institute of Wood Technology and Wood Biology provided to each participant all the necessary equipment for the practical program.
Thus, we were able to microscopically identify the most common xylophagous insects from building area, such as House longhorn beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus (L.)), Longhorn beetles (Phymatodes/ Callidium/Pyrrhydium sp.), Furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum – DeGerr), Death watch beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum – DeGerr), Dampwood borer (Hadrobregmus pertinax (L.)), Horntail wasps (Urocerus/Sirex sp.), Lyctid beetles (Lyctidae sp.) and wood ants (Lasius/Camponotus sp.). The integrated pest management, a very important issue beside the identification of the species, was also included in the discussions. Furthermore, the course focused on brown-rot fungi identification and damages produced by Serpula lacrymans, which we were able to identify during the laboratory workshops. The lecture on brown
Identifying timber dry rot by microscopy methods during Training School (TS).
Practical identification methods during training school in the laboratory of Institute of Wood Technology and Wood Biology.
dry rot problematic, given by Tobias Huckfeldt was one of the most efficient – as an investigation biologist without an experience in dry rot specie identification, I found his paper very resourceful. Besides useful information, the presentation made use of numerous descriptive images of the fruit bodies, which may differ on a macroscopic level. Therefore, the accent was placed on the microscopic identification and on the micromorphology of species. Other identified dry rot species were Coniophora puteana, Antrodia vaillantii, Donkioporia expansa, Asterostroma cervicolor, Phellinus contiguus, Diplomitoporus lindbladii, Paxillus panuoides, Coprinus spp., Peziza repanda and Gloeophyllum abietinum. Prof. dr. Olaf Schmidt presented general facts on wood-damaging fungi and bacteria, molecular methods for identification of wood-decay caused by fungi, and techniques, results and valuation.
Dr. Wolfram Scheiding discussed the problematic of the moulds attack in wooden churches and on other wooden art objects, such as organ pipes. He exposed methods of biologic and physic investigation of the moulds, with reference on air and laboratory tests, and on conservation-restoration safety measures. He emphasized the importance of long term microclimate control, the necessity of periodic airborne germ sampling and comparison between indoor and outdoor species and the assessment of health by medical experts. Health safety is an important aspect of our profession, as some mould species are dangerous for humans (among which Botrytis cinerea and Aspergillus fumigates). It was assessed however that if microbiologists respect the safety work procedures, the contamination risks are minimum. As a conclusion to this issue, it should be emphasized that the determination of genus or species
Larva of a wood destroying insect from pine, 'Ergates spiculatus' (LeConte, USA, Oregon Pine), Collection of Institute of Wood Technology and Wood Biology.
Different types of timber with exit holes of wood destroying insects, Collection of Institute of Wood Technology and Wood Biology.
might be significant in order to verify the hazardous species. Both in situ and laboratory investigation as well as measures deduction require experienced experts with knowledge and equipment. From the Romanian side, Dr. Livia Bucsa presented an ample paper concerning the biodeterioration of the wall painting from the Romanian wooden churches. She described the fungal decay in over 300 wooden monuments, churches and buildings from open air museum. On this same subject other interesting examples were given, like monuments from Latvia (Dr. Ilze Irbe), churches from Macedonia (Prof. Dr. Mitko Karadelev), wooden organ pipes from Germany (Wolfram Scheiding) as well as the relation between different cleaning methods and fungi formation risk due to airborne germs contamination. From Portugal, Dr. Lina Nunes gave an interesting extensive lecture on problems with termites (Reticulitermes) in Portuguese wooden buildings, as well on facts regarding the biology, distribution, generic variation and non-traditional approaches to subterranean termites control in buildings.
At the end of this course we were able to draw some important conclusions, such as the fact that brown dry rot (Serpula lacrymans) attack may be considered one of the most important dangers in Europe for wooden monuments or other objects that contain wood in composition. Among the reasons for the wood decay caused by fungi are poor maintenance, non-professional repairs or improper building construction. Examples were given for some decay typologies and their incidents in different countries. Brown rot decay type predominated in the Latvian monumental buildings with 37% (Ilze Irbe and Ingeborga Andersone) and in Romanian historic monuments and open air museums where it has an occurrence of 38%. The aim of this course was achieved: participants coming from different work fields but all involved in the research of wood’s biological decay gained knowledge regarding important aspects such as its occurrence and evolution, the existent species of biodeterioration agents on wooden constructions and monuments and which are the risks in different possible cases.
Biologist National Research Institute for Conservation and Restoration (INCCR) Calea Victoriei, nr.12, S 3, 030026, Bucharest, Romania Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Oana Chachula graduated from the Faculty of Biology Al. I. Cuza, in Iasi (Romania) in 2002. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Animal Taxonomy field at Biology Faculty, University of Bucharest. She has been working at INCCR as a biologist for 3 years, her current work responsibilities including the biological investigation of movable objects and historical buildings.
Work visit at the Bergedorf farmhouse.
Useful links: http://www.cost.esf.org/ http://www.woodcutlher.org/ http://www.vti.bund.de/en/ http://sostermitas.angra.uac.pt/ http://www.termite.com.fr/ http://www.indexfungorum.org/Names/Names.asp
Participants of TS COST 0601 Hamburg 16-20 march 2009.
THE 3rd CONSERVATION-RESTORATION WORKSHOP FOR THE ARTISTIC COMPONENTS OF HISTORIC MONUMENTS
Review by Anca Dinã
October 14-16, 2009 Bucharest, Romania Organiser: Ministry of Culture, Cults and Heritage of Romania (MCCPN) http://www.cultura.ro
Between 14th and 16th of October 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Cults and Heritage of Romania (MCCPN) organised the third edition of the “ConservationRestoration Workshop for the Artistic Components of Historic Monuments”. On this occasion, besides the information presented in the Multimedia Room of the Ministry, the organisers offered attendees the possibility to find out in situ the problems that three monuments from Bucharest and its vicinity are confronted with. The organisation of this series of meetings would not have been possible without the sustained effort of conservator Oana Gorea, consultant at MCCPN. The meeting successfully gathered and offered those present a diverse range of useful information on the conservation-restoration of cultural heritage. In this respect, several facets of the field were comprised, such as finalised projects or undergoing
conservation works – each with its own aspects and difficulties (on conservation of mural painting, stone, wood and stained glass)1, the importance and advantages of using the laser in conservation of art works, aspects related to documentation, research and examination of some materials used in conservation treatments; issues and solutions for historic monuments heating, a.s.o. It was pointed out on this occasion – by concrete examples – that a correct treatment of a monument or a work of art requires necessary and indispensable information which can only be acquired by interdisciplinary cooperation during intervention for the correct
1 Among the presented conservation projects can be mentioned:
Elena Murariu - “Interdisciplinary conservation problems at Vioreşti”; Daniel Codrescu - “A worksite of mural painting conservation at Predeal Monastery, county of Braşov”; Kiss Lorand – “Medieval mural painting conservation in two evangelic churches from Sibiu”; Nagy Banjámin – “Degradation causes and preservation interventions – restoration of artistic components in carved stone at Palace Bánffy, Cluj Napoca”; Marin Coteţiu – “Conservation aspects of a mural painting en-
samble from different ages. Case study: the porch of the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest”; Penyacseck Ştefan – “The conservation of stained glass in the Loupoigne church, Belgium”; Anca Nicolaescu and Dragoş Ene – “Documentation and conservation of the mural paintings from Red Maitreya temple, Ladak, India”; Pal Peter – “Stratigraphic researches and conservation of mural paintings in Dârjiu Unitarian Church and Daia Reformed Church, Harghita county”.
Views of the conference from the Multimedia Room of the Ministry.
identification of degradation sources and of the presence and the types of biologic agents, for the identification of previous interventions or of the quality of materials used. Another highlighted aspect was the unaltered conservation of the original, by respecting the professional principles adopted at international level, for restricting the aesthetic presentation level as close as possible to an archaeological level so that it does not alter or misrepresent the original image in any way. In the same time it was insisted upon the correct use of the terms 'to restore' and 'to remake', 'to reconstitute' or 'to reconstruct', according to the different significance that each one has. Among the presentations that drew attention by the issues raised and the professionalism of the approach was that of a project based on the cooperation between conservators, researchers, biologists and petrographers - Interdisciplinary Researches made at the cave church Corbii de Piatră (Stone Ravens) from Argeş county (Romania), by Prof. Ioana Gomoiu, PhD, Prof. Dan Mohanu, PhD, Prof. Marin Secleman, PhD, Ileana Mohanu, PhD, Anca Luca, PhD and Sorin Birzoi. The church was built in the first half of the 14th century in sandstone and communicates with the exterior by the entrance door of the narthex and the two windows
in the nave. Presently, the monument is in the stage of research prior to the conservation process, of monitoring the microclimate parameters and of assessing the conservation state and the degradation causes and sources. The interior a fresco painting was lost in a large proportion on the northern wall (towards the interior of the rock) and is altered by a series of deposits and accumulations of different origins in the rest of the church. The main degradation factor is humidity , condensation running-off the painting but also at the level of windows and floor. Among the degradations of the painting can be recalled fissures and detachments of the support, gaps, efflorescences, organic and inorganic deposits, colonization processes due to the biologic activity of photoautotroph or heterotroph micro-organisms, etc. The church is a valuable monument by its age, beauty and rarity where it must be acted by the removal of the degradation sources in order to achieve the preservation of the murals and of the entire ensemble. Another presentation, this time with the purpose of a call for awareness, was “Types of degradations of the panel ceilings in Transylvania”, of conservator Mihaly Ferenc. The panel ceilings, painted on wooden support in tempera technique, are specific to protestant and catholic churches in this part of Romania. According to the data presented by the author there are only few examples preserved from the 16th to the 20th century. Mr. Ferenc pre19
sented the audience with examples for specific degradations and their causes, as well as a few conserved works. The presentation of Mrs. Livia Bucşa, Ph.D., called attention by focussing on the biological contamination problems of some monuments with wall painting and the importance of “cooperation between specialists in the fields of chemistry, biology and physics with conservators in order to establish a correct diagnosis and to avoid the confusion between the nature of deposits and accumulations existing on the painted area”. To this regard, she presented two different situations: first, when a physical-chemical degradation is interpreted and treated as biological and second, when a biological degradation is considered a simple deposit of dust or smoke and treated as such. On the same note, that of the benefits of interdisciplinary cooperation within conservation projects, followed the presentations of scientists from INOE, the National Institute of Research and Development for Optoelectronics (Roxana Rădvan, Dragoş Ene, Laurenţiu Angheluţă, Monica Simileanu and Cătălin Bălan), regarding the use of non-destructive methods of analysis and intervention in conservation of works of art, such as LIBS and LIF among others. Constructive discussions followed after the presentations of conservators Katarzyna Górecka and Prof. Marcin Kozarzewski from Warsaw University, that outlined the importance of monuments, even if reconstructed, for the preservation of the national identity. The Polish restorers spoke about remaking and reconstruction of the historic centre of Warsaw after the destruction during the Second World War. The authors insisted on two concrete cases - the Brochow church and the Rosary wooden church - and spoke about the solutions found for the conservation of the original elements and the
remaking of the missing ones in order to recover the unity of the monuments. In the second part of the event, that is the third day in the programme, a visit to some monuments in Bucharest and its surroundings was scheduled in order to draw attention on some aspects and concerns related to the undergoing conservation projects. The visit started at Mântuleasa Church in Bucharest, a monument in a complex conservation-restoration process since October 2007, coordinated by Simona Pătraşcu, mural painting conservator. This site has already been presented in the 4th issue of this magazine, but we shall notify that even if the work is not finalised, the site was closed for the time being, out of lack of funds. This is how, a representative monument for the Brâncovenesc art, located in the centre of the capital, continues to deteriorate inevitably. The next visited monument was the 18th century church of Saint Nicholas, located in Stoeneşti village, Giurgiu county. The monument presents structural degradation, has lost its vaults and suffered several interventions on architectural elements and artistic components. The church is operational - the liturgy can still be conducted -
Participants visiting Mântuleasa Church in Bucharest.
Mural painting from the church of Saint Nicholas in Stoeneşti village, Giurgiu county.
but its original aspect is altered by a temporary flat ceiling, a roof that modifies the proportions of the monument and by layers of deposits, accumulations and repaintings that affect the reading of the mural painting and iconostasis image. It is clear that the monument needs complex conservation-restoration interventions at the level of all components. Another monument the group visited was the Potlogi church (1683), where another situation is faced. The church was submitted in time to complex interventions, out of which only a few had the role of conserving the artistic components. This is why the original mural painting is only preserved in the narthex, and unfortunately this was also altered irreversibly by repaintings. At present these were already removed, however in the past the surface of the painting was thoroughly hammered in order to increase the adhesion of a new layer. Therefore, there are areas where the representations can hardly be identified.
State of degradation of the mural painting from church in Stoeneşti village.
Image from Potlogi church (1683), where the mural painting was hammered in order to increase the adhesion of a new layer.
The main challenge for its conservation-restoration is the aesthetic presentation of the gaps of the support layer. Due to the particularity of this case, Irina Sava, the conservator who coordinates the work will establish the aesthetic treatment methodology together with a commission approved by the Ministry of Culture, Cults and Heritage of Romania. Given the diversity of the presentations and the interesting issues brought into discussion, the third “Conservation-Restoration Workshop for the Artistic Components of Historic Monuments” has made an important contribution on national level, growing the awareness of specific problems in the conservation-restoration practice. This brief presentation was encouraged by the initiative of the organisers, which we hope will continue in 2010.
Photographic credits: All photos by Anca Dinã and Dumitru Gorea. Poster by Oana and Dumitru Gorea.
ANCA DINÃ Conservator Contact: email@example.com Anca Dinã is a conservator restorer of mural paintings. She graduated in Conservation from The Art University in Bucharest where she also completed a Master in Visual Arts, with conservation specialisation. She works for the CERECS ART S.R.L. enterprise, having coordinated several interventions areas from onsite conservation projects in Moldavia. She is a collaborator for e-conservation magazine since 2007.
The events in this section are linked to the original homepage of the organisers or to the calendar of events at www.conservationevents.com. Click on "Read more..." to find out more details about each event.
The Fine Art of Crime
Date: 27 January 2010 Place: London, UK The theft of a major work of art never fails to make the headlines reflecting on both the deep sense of loss felt by owners, curators and the art loving public and the total disbelief that such a crime could be perpetrated against an old friend. The finger of suspicion is pointed at the mystical billionaire collector whose desire to possess the painting far outruns any sense of morality or respect of the law. Using case studies and recoveries "The Fine Art of Crime" will expose the real motives and trends in cultural property crime, show how art is used by organised crime and reveal how art can become the crime itself. Read more...
Ancient Peruvian Textiles Workshop: Animal Iconography January 2010
Date: 12-22 January 2010 Place: Lima, Peru The workshop will document, conserve and mount pre-Columbian textiles from the collection of the Huaca Huallamarca Museum and Huaca Malena Museum. This course is geared toward museum professionals and others with museum sensibilities and excellent hand skills who want to learn about textile conservation and pre-Columbian cultures while visiting Peru. Past students have included conservators from all disciplines, archaeologists, weavers, historians, and anyone with an interest in textiles, ranging in age from college students to retirees. Read more...
Subject Repositories: European collaboration in the international context
Date: 28-29 January 2010 Place: London, UK This conference will look at the progress made with subject repositories so far. It will also see the launch of Economists Online, the key output of an EC-funded subject repository project managed by the Nereus consortium of top European economics libraries. Nereus members will showcase this subject repository in both plenary and parallel sessions, sharing lessons learned and engaging delegates in discussions of the main issues such as content recruitment, search and retrieval services, usage statistics and datasets. Among the speakers are Chuck Henry, President of the Council on Library and Information Resources in the US, Clifford Lynch, Director of the Coalition for Networked Information, Cathrine Harboe-Ree, University Librarian at Monash University who led the Arrow project and is involved in leading the ANDS project, and Christian Zimmermann, Economics professor at the University of Connecticut. Read more...
IIC Annual General Meeting
Date: 28 January 2010 Place: London, UK A new type of event for IIC will be held; Anna Somers Cocks, founder and Editorial Director of the Art Newspaper, will interview Samuel Jones, of the Demos think-tank and co-author of the very influential publication "It's a Material World: Caring for the Public Realm". They will explore why conservation should matter. Is there a crisis in Conservation? Is the profession losing support? What can be done? The event will focus on how conservation can and should position itself as an essential element for the health of all societies, worldwide. Read more...
International Paper Historians Congress 2010 Call for Papers
Date: 7-10 October 2010 Place: Angouleme, France Abstract Submission Deadline: December 31, 2009 Session 1: Side-industries and crafts connected to Papermaking Session 2: Paper Economy and Trade: national and international Interactions Session 3: The Uses of Paper: Gestures, Words, Expertise Read more...
Gilded Objects Conservation Special Interest Group
Date: August-September 2010 Place: Melbourne, Australia Deadline for expressions of interest: 30 January 2010 GOCSIG is seeking expressions of interest from its members regarding a professional development workshop in the area of traditional gilding techniques as related to picture frames. The workshop may cover traditional gilding techniques incorporating such aspects as surface preparation using gesso, bole and size; gesso texturing and re-cutting; water gilding and oil gilding using gold, silver and schlag metal leaf; matte and gloss surface finishes; clay mixes and advanced leafing techniques; toning, aging and sealing. Read more...
AICCM Book, Paper and Photographs Symposium 2010
Date: 17-19 November 2010 Place: Melbourne, Australia Abstracts submission Deadline: January 15, 2010 Possible ideas may be an innovative treatment that has been recently carried out on works on paper, books or photographs; any interesting research that has been conducted into areas such as artists’ materials, conservation materials, display and storage methods; or perhaps even share some considered insights and discussion of issues relevant to the profession. Read more...
Multidisciplinary Conservation: a Holistic View for Historic Interiors
Date: 26-27 November Place: Rome, Italy Abstract Submission Deadline: 23 March 2010 The call for paper is intended to those working in interesting cases in castles or historic houses and contributed together with other conservators from different disciplines on bigger projects of interdisciplinary research. Read more...
ICCROM - 14th International Course on Wood Conservation Technology - ICWCT 2010
Date: 24 May - 2 July 2010 Place: Oslo, Norway Applications deadline: 29 January 2010 The Wood course aims is to promote cultural understanding and research in the field of wood conservation, and to be a valuable resource for the work of the individual participants in their respective countries. We are interested in receiving applications from midcareer professionals with a minimum of three years’ work experience in wood conservation. Read more...
Tree Rings, Art, Archaeology
Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels
Date: 10-12, February 2010 Place: Bruxelles, Belgium The subject of this international conference is the contribution of dendrochronology to human sciences, with a broader outlook thandating of the wood (determination of the origin of the wood, forest ecology, history of climate...). It will include lectures not only by dendrochronologists but also by users of dendrochronological data, such as archaeologists, historians, art historians and restorers. Read more...
2010 Calls for Papers
CONSERVATION IN ACTION: WELCOME TO THE “CSI LAB”
by Virginie Ternisien
The “CSI Lab” (Conservation Science Investigations) was developed to meet the needs of archaeological conservation and studies. In May 2008, during the development of “The Meads”, Sittingbourne, Kent, England, a large early Anglo-Saxon cemetery site in Kent was found. The site was excavated by Canterbury Archaeological Trust and was found to compose of 227 inhumations, plus 2 cremations with hundereds of artefacts made from various materials. Conservation treatment was essential to reveal potential information to better understand this important period in history, when the Kentish kingdom was at its height. However, professional conservation treatment was estimated to far exceed the archaeological budget, which was minimal due to the find being unexpected. An innovative low-cost approach was proposed by Dana Goodburn-Brown, an independent archaeological conservator. The “CSI Lab” is located in the main shopping centre of Sittingbourne (across from the archaeological exhibition) and is overseen by conservators, interns and volunteers and is open to the public to come in and look around. I had the opportunity to participate in this activity for one week as an intern. Through this experience I am able to introduce you to the “CSI Lab” and share with you my reflections and feelings about the conservation practice and community partnership.
Introduction In May 2008 archaeologists from Canterbury Archaeological Trust discovered a large Anglo-Saxon cemetery at “The Meads”, Sittingbourne, Kent. In total they excavated 229 graves and found hundreds of archaeological artefacts made from various materials including a range of metals, glass and mineral preserved organics. As an intern with Dana Goodburn-Brown during July 2009 I followed the preparation of this exciting project. In September I decided to revisit for one week, just after the opening of the “CSI Lab” on September 16th 2009, allowing me to report on the impact it has on the different active
Figure 1. Iron sword block-lifted on excavations, before treatment.
participants (conservators, interns, volunteers and the general public) and how heritage is brought to light from archaeological objects and their conservation treatments. The creation of the “CSI Lab” Archaeological Needs In May 2008 the archaeologists from Canterbury Archaeological Trust excavated 229 graves containing a vast amount of burial goods. Very few skeletal remains were found in the graves with the burial goods due to the acidic soil. This site offers archaeologists the chance to uncover more of the history of the local area. The site dates to
CONSERVATION IN ACTION: WELCOME TO THE “CSI LAB”
Figure 2 a, b. Buckle (above) and brooche (right) during treatment.
the 6th and 7th centuries, when the Kentish kingdom was at the height of its power and very influential - with access to trade goods from the Frankish near continent, the Baltic and the Eastern Mediterranean. The study of these archaeological objects could possibly reveal information about this society and its cosmopolitan nature that is not currently known. The archaeological objects mainly come to the laboratory covered in soil and corrosion products (figures 1 and 2) which hold potential information such as on the manufacturing processes, decoration, wear, and evidence for organic materials which may have been associated with the find. These elements can help the archaeologists to interpret the use of an object and the relationship between the buried person, the object and the larger society. Consequently, investigative conservation is essential to fully understand this society. For the work to be carried out by a professional conservator alone would require a very large budget, which is not available in such an unstable economic climate. In addition to this, the large number of artefacts found was unexpected and so had not
been budgeted for. One option would be to store the objects until money was available for their treatment, however, during this time the objects would continue to deteriorate potentially leading to the loss of important information. An answer had to be found which would allow the objects to be treated with minimal costs. An answer to the lack of funding The idea to bring conservation to the general public came from Dana Goodburn-Brown, an independent archaeological conservator, director of AMTec Co-op Ltd and a member of the local community, in response to the large number of unex27
pected finds which were uncovered during “The Meads” excavation. The proposed solution was to build a temporary conservation laboratory which would be open to the public to look around. In order to treat the objects with minimal costs volunteers from the local community were brought in to work on the objects while under supervision. This project would allow the general public to see the route an object takes from excavation to display in a museum. The term “CSI Lab” refers to the well-known television show, Crime Scene Investigation, about detectives working in the CSI bureau. This theme is used as a comparison to highlight the work done during the investigative stages of conservation work. In addition to this, the project aims to bring
conservation to the surrounding community through watching active conservation and through the involvement of the volunteers. For this project to succeed it was essential to generate interest from the local community. In order to do this, two exhibitions were developed, one which would tell the public about the excavation site and background to the historic era and the other where the public could watch the objects being treated. It was essential that the two exhibitions be in Sittingbourne to make it more relevant to the public and to teach them about their heritage since the excavation took place there. In the end two empty shops were donated by Tescos within the main shopping centre in Sittingbourne (figures 3-5).
Figure 3. The CSI Lab on the left and the Archaeological Exhibition on the right in the main shopping centre in Sittingbourne.
CONSERVATION IN ACTION: WELCOME TO THE “CSI LAB”
Figure 4 a,b. Outside and inside the CSI Lab.
Support networks This project has three main support networks: Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT), Sittingbourne Heritage Museum (SHM) and AMTeC Coop Ltd. Canterbury Archaeological Trust is the archaeological unit who ran the excavation. They gave their consent for the objects to be displayed and to allow volunteers, under the supervision of a professional conservator, to work on the objects. The Trust acts as overall project manager of CSI: Sittingbourne. Sittingbourne Heritage Museum is a local museum managed by volunteers, that shows and celebrates the town’s history. The museum organised the venue and running costs, as well as helped to recruit over 35 local volunteers to help both in the exhibition space and in the laboratory. AMTeC (Ancient Materials, Technologies and Conservation) is an archaeological conservation cooperative headed by Dana Goodburn-Brown and is based in Chatham, near Sittingbourne. The project also received some funding from Kent County council and one of the developers, Marston’s Brewery. Much of the equipment was donated by
the Museum of London, the Institute of Archaeology, UCL and various local organisations. The Barbara Piasecka Johnson Foundation donated ex-exhibition materials and Rapiscan Systems Company donated a security X-ray machine to have on-site. To be an intern (at the “CSI Lab”) or not to be: volunteers and public Working Methods The “CSI Lab” is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5:30pm. One grave is worked on at a time, although as the treatment progresses there is sometimes an overlap as one grave ends
Figure 5. Inside the archaeological exhibition: a dedicated educational collection of archaeological objects in the yellow “CAT KITS” boxes can be handled by visitors.
and another is started. The grave plans are hung around the walls for the visitors to see and for the volunteers to use to help interpret what they are seeing on their object. The volunteers are asked to commit to a regular time slot and shifts run from 10am to 2pm. The afternoon session runs from 1:30pm to 5:30pm. The morning and afternoon sessions overlap to allow the volunteers to ‘hand over’ their objects to the next volunteers. During the hand over session the volunteers discuss the object they have been working on, what they have found, where in the grave it was found and any possible interpretations of the object. Not all of the volunteers are able to work on archaeological pieces for a variety of reasons, e.g. scalpel skills or the persons’ character may not be suited to the task. If, however, the person is still motivated there are other essential tasks which they can undertake including sorting pictures, entering information into the database, updating the public display and monitoring and changing the silica gel. Teaching The training offered to the volunteers comprises of two main elements. The first introduces them to what it is that we are trying to achieve with this
project. Volunteers are shown the grave plans along with some finds which may or may not have been treated. They are informed about the various things which they may encounter during the investigative cleaning process and how our finds can be interpreted within the archaeological record. The processes which are involved during the investigative cleaning process are explained so that the volunteers know exactly what is expected of them. During this first stage of training, objects from one grave are laid out on a drawing of a body to give people a visual record of the archaeological information found within a grave (figure 6). It is important for the volunteers to look at the objects as a whole within one grave as their location within the grave and the other objects around it can help us to know what to look for during the investigative cleaning process. Showing volunteers all the finds within one grave also allows them to see how different the levels of deterioration can be within this one small area; volunteers can also see examples of mineral preserved organics such as wood, leather, textiles and the remains of insect activities. However, we insist that there are no set rules as the preservation depends upon the properties of the soil and the surrounding elements. During this first session we also introduce volunteers to two essential elements required for the archaeological conservator; the x-radiograph and
Figure 6 and 7. Volunteers during the first stage of training (left) and familiarising themselves with the microscopes and x-rays (right).
CONSERVATION IN ACTION: WELCOME TO THE “CSI LAB”
the binocular microscope which are used at all times during archaeological investigative cleaning. Some of the volunteers do struggle to work with the microscope; however, with a bit of practice most are able to master the technique within a relatively short period of time (figure 7). In the second part of the training, volunteers are given practical experience of the conservation methodology. The object labels are explained with particular emphasis on the object number - this being the piece of information used most during the conservation treatment as it allows us to locate the object on the grave plan. After this, volunteers are shown where to find the x-rays and how to use the table to look up the xray corresponding to their object. They are also shown how to fill in the conservation record sheet. It is essential that volunteers fill this in fully and in detail so the next person to work on the object
will know exactly what has been found on the object and where. At this point we also talk about health and safety within the laboratory space including looking at the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) sheets and discussing the protective equipment that they will need to use during treatment. All of the volunteers begin by learning to use the scalpel under the microscope (figure 8). They are shown how to hold the scalpel correctly before giving them a test piece of deaccessioned archaeological metal (donated by the Museum of London) to practice the technique on. At all times the volunteers are supervised and advice on improving their technique is offered. They are encouraged to look for changes in the surface of the objects, any potential mineral preserved organics or anything else of interest. They are also encouraged to ask questions on anything which they are unsure about. Volunteers are then taken to the air abrasion machine on an individual basis. Here they
Figure 8. Volunteers practicing the scalpel technique under the microscope.
read the instruction poster and how the machine works along with the technique for using it is explained to them (figure 9). Supervision and advice All of the volunteers, once trained, start with a piece requiring scalpel work, this allowing them to get acquainted with the objects and the different surface effects. When they are first given an object they are closely supervised and encouraged to ask questions about what they are seeing, allowing conservators to advise them if their technique has to be adjusted. This support network is in place at all times, regardless of how long the person has been volunteering. Asking questions and talking to conservators and other volunteers about their object helps them to better understand it. Visitor and volunteer studies Visitor and volunteer studies of the “CSI Lab” were carried out by UCL student Natalie Mitchell. This was done by a series of questionnaires and feedback sources. These have allowed for the local communities' attitudes towards conservation to be understood and their responses to the “CSI Lab” to be analysed. The visitor studies were completed by pre-visit and post-visit questionnaires, comment forms and observations. Volunteers have also played a pivotal role in making the “CSI Lab” a community project as well as helping to complete the conservation work. Volunteer studies were completed by pre-training and post-training surveys, feedback forms and observations. Both the visitor and volunteer studies results showed that there was an overwhelming appreciation for the accessibility to the conservation work being done on local finds. Visitor results show that the open lab environment has allowed them to under32
Figure 9. Volunteers practising using the air abrasion machine.
stand how investigative conservation can be done and has given them an insight to a profession they would not usually encounter. The volunteer results show that they have taken on their conservation assistant roles in a very professional manner. However, they also share enough common ground with visitors that they are able to communicate the conservation work both accurately and in an understandable way to visitors. Both visitors and volunteers expressed hope that the success of the project will reflect beneficially back into the community. The results aid in demonstrating how successful the project has been for those involved and could be used to contribute to the cementation of the CSI Lab’s potential long-term establishment. This will be useful in pursuing future support for the project, its networking into other communities and the establishment of other conservation projects in the future. Reflections from a Satisfied Conservation Intern Exchange with the public: a permanent re-evaluation When presenting conservation to the visitors only a short period of time is available to explain what the profession, in this context, entails. In the majority of cases visitors are very interested in
CONSERVATION IN ACTION: WELCOME TO THE “CSI LAB”
the work which is performed because they have never been exposed to it before. When talking with the public it is important to adapt our speech to ensure each member of the public leaves feeling well informed instead of confused. With conservation mainly being a field hidden behind closed doors in the back rooms of museums, a lot of the public is not aware that the profession even exists! In order to explain our roles to the public we have to break down our working processes so they can understand why we do something in a particular way. This can be applied to something as simple as how to hold your scalpel during cleaning. For different conservation practices the scalpel will be used in different ways requiring to be held differently. Along with talking to the general public we also have posters of information about the treatment process, which were pinned to the walls. The posters allow the public to follow our progress as we complete the graves. In addition to this we have an airport x-ray scanner, which generates a lot of interest from the public when in use and allows us to explain further what it is we are seeing beneath the soil and corrosion products (figure 10). To increase the public engagement we also have a “mystery object”, that is an unidentified find on which we ask the public’s ideas and opinions. A profession which feels alive As mentioned above the general public is not really aware of what we, as conservators, do. The profession is often confused with craftsmen, artists, or even archaeologists. Those who are aware of the profession tend to think of it as a closed profession. On a personal note, as a conservator I find it frustrating that although the majority of objects dise-conser vation
Figure 10. Airport scanner and posters about conservation pinned to the wall.
played within heritage settings were treated by conservators, this is not evident to the general public, feeling almost like the profession would not exist! Therefore, it is essential that conservation is taken out into the wider community to give the general public a better idea of the whole process involved with displaying artefacts. There are between 70 and 130 people (including visitors and volunteers) coming in the “CSI Lab” everyday – just by talking to them alone we are helping to demystify our work. A common heritage place This project has been a large success, in part, due to the location of the “CSI Lab” to the excavation site. People from the surrounding areas come to visit the exhibition and laboratory to help them better understand the society that lived in this same area over a thousand years ago. Through opening our doors to allow the public in we share the local people’s heritage with them at a very raw level. It helps to create a direct link between conservators and the general public through our work (figure 11). All of the volunteers who are involved in this project are hugely privileged to be able to work on these objects and as such they
Figure 11. A common heritage brought to life (Dana Goodburn-Brown, the founder of the “CSI Lab”seated at the right).
take their enthusiasm out into the community which, in turn, allows us to share conservation work with yet more people. Less (time for conservation work) is more Allowing the general public to come in to observe our work and ask some questions does mean that the work may not progress as quickly as if it was carried on in a studio away from the public. However, talking to the public and answering their questions helps us to continually evaluate the treatment we are undertaking (why is one method better than another?, etc.). Being in the public domain and sharing our thoughts and findings with the public also allows us to reach what should be our main goal as conservators, that is to help understand the past and ensure this knowledge is passed on to others.
Conclusion and future objectives The “CSI Lab” is an innovative idea brought to reality by Dana Goodburn-Brown, CAT and SHM to fill in a lack of resources to undertake conservation treatment on objects found at “The Meads”, Sittingbourne, Kent. It is thanks to the partnership between the archaeologists, scientists, conservations and members of the community that this project works. With the Archaeological Exhibition and the “CSI Lab” being located in a shopping centre, the project has allowed direct accessibility and exchange to occur between residents and conservation professionals. Based on the research of the postgraduate dissertation it is hoped that this concept can be further refined to continue to generate the public’s interest. It is hoped that it can be extended to other towns and cities to further promote the conservation
CONSERVATION IN ACTION: WELCOME TO THE “CSI LAB”
profession and to facilitate the access of the public to their local heritage. Besides, we are currently trying to raise funds for the second half of the site. It is a 'rescue archaeology' situation, with different developers for each half of the site and only one of the developers has contributed funds, so we hope to continue beyond the end of January. Visitors have been steadily contributing to our collection box, and the organising team is preparing grant applications. Acknowledgements I would like to thank Dana Goodburn-Brown, my English supervisor for giving me the agreement to write this article about the ”CSI Lab”, and for her support, advice, sharing of experience and her professional lifestyle, always in good mood. I would also like to thank the conservation team: the interns (Marie Le Saux, Courtney Buxey-Brown and Katrina Redman), the volunteers, the public; the archaeological team who works in the opposite shop and all of the supporters from Kent especially Andrew Richardson, the CAT finds manager and others. I also thank Dana, Andrew, Katrina and Natalie for their translation advice. References  E. Pye, Caring for the past, issues in conservation for archaeology and museums, James & James, London, 2007, pp. 232  “CSI lab”, www.anglosaxoncsi.wordpress.com Address: East Street, Sittingbourne, ME10 3HT Monday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm until 30 January 2010  CSI lab project, www.kenttv.com (go to History and then select Early Kent)
 Dana Goodburn-Brown, independent archaeological conservator email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 07973856311  Nathalie P. Mitchell, postgraduate student, email: email@example.com  CAT: www.canterburytrust.co.uk  SHM: www.sittingbourne-museum.co.uk  AMTeC: www.amtec.org.uk Virginie Ternisien Contact: Virginie.Ternisien@malix.univ-paris1.fr I am a postgraduate conservation student involved in the fourth-year of the program “Master Conservation-restauration des biens-culturels” ( Master in Conservation of Cultural Properties), at the Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University. It is a 5-year program which trains students to be conservators in different specialties (painting, sculpture, graphic art, ethnographic objects, archaeological objects, stained glass and art objects). I am specializing in archaeological objects with a preference for metal objects both archaeological and historical. As a requirement for graduation, the fifth year (2010-2011) is devoted to internships in specialized institutions and the dissertation is based on it. I am accepted at the British Museum, Metal Conservation Department (England, 3 months) and then at the Clemson Conservation Center (Charlestown, United States, 6 months) and maybe after within the Karnak excavation site (Egypt, 3 months). I am looking for funding from a private foundation or a sponsor to succeed comfortably in following these quite interesting internships.
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EXAMINATION OF SOME INORGANIC PIGMENTS AND PLASTER LAYERS FROM EXCAVATIONS AT SAQQARA AREA, EGYPT
Optical Microscopy and SEM-EDS Microanalysis
by Hussein Hassan M.H. Mahmoud
EXAMINATION OF INORGANIC PIGMENTS AND PLASTERS FROM SAQQARA, EGYPT
This work aims to establish an analytical database of some painted plasters dating back to the 19th dynasty (1314-1304 BC) and recently discovered during the excavations of Cairo University at Saqqara area in Egypt. Appropriate representative samples were carefully chosen and collected from areas that had no aesthetic value or that were seriously damaged. In order to identify the stratigraphy, pigment particle size and texture of the paint layers, polished cross-sections of samples were analyzed by optical microscopy (OM). Scanning electron microscopy equipped with energy dispersive X-ray analysis system (SEM-EDS) showed the elemental microanalysis of the various materials used in construction of these paintings. The obtained results revealed the characterization of some inorganic pigments and plaster layers used in this period of the Egyptian history. Introduction Saqqara is an immense necropolis located about 30 km south of Cairo. The excavation campaigns of Cairo University started in 1984, in the south of the Unas’s pyramid causeway. There, many tombs dating back to the 19th dynasty were discovered. Some samples were collected from the painted plasters of the tomb of Mihew and tomb of hwi nfr. The stone blocks used in the construction of these tombs are not of high quality types of limestone, for this, they have been covered with stucco and white wash layers and painted with several scenes and inscriptions (figures 1 and 2). Pigments differ with respect to their chemical properties due to the fact that they are comprised of a wide variety of chemical compounds. The material’s color characteristics, such as hue and purity, rely not only on color absorption but also depend on the size, shape, and texture of the pigment particles. There are also other characteristics related to the shape and size of pigment particles such as, for example, that mineral pigments are often sharp and angular and traditionally have larger particle size .
Figure 1. Painted inscriptions. Painted pastes with blue, bluish-green and red pigments filling pinkish and white plasters.
HUSSEIN HASSAN M.H. MAHMOUD
Figure 2. Painted inscriptions. Figures with red pigments and pink plasters.
The main objective of this work was to perform a preliminary analytical approach of the painting materials used for the construction of some painted plasters belonging to the excavations at Saqqara area in Egypt. The studies performed in the current work include application of optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM-EDS). Experimental setup Methods for investigation and analysis Sampling Microscopic samples of blue, green and red-orange pigments were carefully collected from the wall paintings. Also, small fragments of coarse and fine plasters were collected and investigated.
Optical microscopy Paint analysis usually begins with the visual investigation of the surface of the object, primarily with the purpose of locating intact and representative areas for further analysis. Taking even a tiny sample for a cross-section means removing and destroying a part of the artifact’s original structure. Thus, samples are best taken from areas with flaking paint, so that still intact paint layer will not be damaged. The size of the particle should be as large as necessary but as tiny as possible. Usually, a particle with a size of 1x2 mm is absolutely sufficient and attention should be given to the sampling procedure in order to collect all the paint layers . The morphology of the pigment particle, including homogeneity, shape, size, surface character, and crystal form, are among the first in the sequence of observations that should be made in an investigation and that can help to determine
EXAMINATION OF INORGANIC PIGMENTS AND PLASTERS FROM SAQQARA, EGYPT
the source of a pigment, and decipher subtle differences between natural and synthetic versions of a pigment. Optical microscopy can provide information such as: the sequence of paint layers, color and texture of those layers and layer thickness . In order to analyze the stratigraphy of the mural paintings, some samples were embedded in Epoxy resin (EpoFix), cross-sectioned using variable speed silicon carbide papers and DP-lubricant blue for fine and cool polishing, and mounted on glass slides. The cross-sections were examined with a Zeiss Stemi DV4 stereomicroscope with a Sony DSC-S85 camera and under reflected light by a Leitz orthoplan (binocular polarized) microscope with a Nikon Cooplix 990 camera. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS) The scanning electron microscope is used to observe the pigment morphological features more accurately, and is most effective in the absence of organic binding media. When working with patinas and paint layers the backscattered electrons mode (BSE) usually provides more information concerning the elements distribution, due to the different atomic numbers of the elements present in the sample. This mode allowed us to distinguish the different layers with different elemental composition. Analyses in BSE on polished sections were used for elemental semi-quantitative chemical study of the painting layers. SEM analysis in the secondary electron mode (SE) on unpolished sections was used for microscopic observations of the layer’s microstructure and texture. The EDS mapping analysis offers a final piece of information needed for pigment identification, i.e., the elemental distribution within the different layers . The pigment morphology was analysed using a JEOL JSM-840A scanning electron microscope and the microanalysis was carried out using an
energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) Oxford ISIS 300. Polished cross-sections were analysed by BSE for the purpose of pigment identification in each color layer. The elemental composition was determined using carbon coated cross-sections. Results Blue-green pigments The analysis of green pigment cross-section shows turquoise and green hues of coarse large particles embedded in glass-rich matrix. The thickness of the paint layer is slightly higher than others. Yellowish-brown spots were noticed scattered within the green particles (figure 3). Different bluish-green hues and some particles with brown color were also observed (figure 4). BSE analysis of the green pigment shows large crystals, probably of parawollastonite embedded in silica-rich amorphous phase (figure 5), and the EDS microanalysis shows the presence of silicon (31.12%), copper (5.66%) and calcium (9.34%), which is consistent with the possibility that a copper glass-rich bearing compound, such as the synthetic Egyptian green pigment, was used to produce the color. In the manufacture of Green Frit, a higher
Figure 3. A close-up optical micrograph of green paint layer. Particles of green pigment are surrounded with yellowishbrown grains.
HUSSEIN HASSAN M.H. MAHMOUD
Figure 4. Optical micrograph shows cross-section in bluish-green pigment and some particles with brown color are also noticed.
Figure 5. BSE micrograph of plaster layer and green pigment.
lime-to-copper ratio than for Egyptian Blue is required in order to stabilize the copper-bearing wollastonite as a liquidus phase. By comparison with Egyptian Blue, the chromatic phase in the Green Frit is wollastonite [(CaCu)SiO3] . Egyptian green is a heterogeneous material like Egyptian blue and has a characteristic turquoise hue. Egyptian green is characterized by the presence of parawollastonite (CaSiO3) crystals, with a particle size less than 10 µm, and residual silica (quartz and/or tridymite or cristobalite), embedded in an amorphous, silica-rich glass phase. The copper ions in the octahedral environment of a silica-rich glass result in a turquoise color, which is affected when the temperature and the CuO concentration increase, but is not related to the flux concentration . Also the Cu2+ ion is in an octahedral environment in the amorphous silica-rich matrix, which induces the green hue . EDS microanalysis of yellowish spots mixed with the green crystals shows that the peak of iron is present which is consistent with the possibility that the ancient artist used on purpose a mixture of blue pigment (Egyptian blue) and yellowish-brown pigment (iron oxides based) to produce green hues, or that he mixed the Egyptian green with the yellow pigment to get special hues. Moreover, the mineralogical characterization to identify the crystalline phases in the samples
is now in progress in order to obtain further information about the main components. Egyptian blue pigment appeared in Egypt during the 4th dynasty in the 3rd millennium BC. The use of the pigment spread from Egypt and the Near East to Minoan Crete and the Greek world, and then to the Roman world . This pigment consists of cuprorivaite, calcium copper tetra silicate (CaCuSi4O10), blue tabular crystal about 15 µm to 30 µm in length, residual silica (quartz and/or tridymite) and an amorphous silica-rich phase. It was manufactured by mixing calcium salt (carbonate, sulphate or hydroxide), a copper compound (copper oxide or malachite), silica and alkali flux (sources of alkali could have been either natron from areas such as Wadi Natroun and El-Kab, or soda-rich plant ashes) . This mixture was heated to a temperature between 850 and 1000° C to produce a colored glass or frit and later ground to powder for use. Red-orange pigment Ochres form a very wide class of natural inorganic pigments thanks to their extensive color range that can vary from deep red or brownish to orange and finally to bright yellow. Red ochre was used in Egypt from the 5th dynasty till the Roman times. There are three main factors that influence the
EXAMINATION OF INORGANIC PIGMENTS AND PLASTERS FROM SAQQARA, EGYPT
color of ochres. Firstly, is the nature of the iron oxide chromophore. It is likely that the darker red ochre contains predominantly hematite, Fe2O3, while the paler yellow ochre is richer in the hydrated iron oxide, goethite, Fe2O3•H2O or FeOOH. Secondly, is the presence of other minerals, e.g. clay minerals or other metal oxides. Thirdly, is the particle size distribution within the material . Hematite particles of about 1 µm have a distinct violet tint differing from the bright red colour of hematite with sub-micrometer particles, e.g. pedogenic . The optical investigation of the painting layer with red-orange pigment shows that the pigment was applied over an unprepared underlying plaster layer rich in voids and gypsum and quartz particles as we can see that the painting layer shows irregular line with different thicknesses (figure 6). BSE investigation of red pigment shows massive granular aggregate particles (figure 7) while EDS microanalysis shows that the peak of iron (19.05%) is present, indicating the existence of hematite (Fe2O3) as the possible material producing the red color. Other elements of sulfur and calcium refer to the presence of calcium sulphates, as well as aluminum and silicon indicate possible existence of aluminosilicate material. The observation at high magnifications showed a difference in size between particles with gypsum (CaSO4•2H2O) and calcite (CaCO3)
as the particles with gypsum are larger while the calcite ones are much smaller. The presence of titanium in the studied samples could be a result of the presence of ilmenite (FeTiO3) which is found in the Egyptian sand or possibly forming intergrowths with hematite . Plaster layers From the optical analysis (figure 8) we can distinguish two main layers of the plaster used to overcome faults in the poor stones and to produce flat and smoothed surface for painting. The bottom coarse layer is known as arriccio and consists mainly of quartz grains, calcite and calcium sulphates, while the fine coat known as intonaco is mainly based on gypsum with variable amount of calcite (limestone powder). BSE analysis shows clearly the two layers of plaster (figure 9): the thick layer of coarse plaster and the irregular fine white wash. EDS microanalysis of the coarse plaster revealed high quantity of silicon associated with quartz, and calcium and sulfur associated with calcium sulphates (gypsum/anhydrite). The EDS microanalysis of white wash identified sulfur, calcium and magnesium as the major ions present, most probably due to the existence of calcium sulphates, calcite and some dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2). Remains of pinkcolored plaster were noticed as paste filling the
Figure 6. Optical micrograph shows cross-section of red paint layer.
Figure 7. BSE micrograph of plaster layer and red ochre pigment.
HUSSEIN HASSAN M.H. MAHMOUD
Figure 8. Optical micrograph shows cross-section of plaster layers. The thin white wash layer lies on a thick coarse plaster.
Figure 9. BSE micrograph of plaster layers.
sunken areas in the walls, probably used to overcome imperfections in the wall. The EDS microanalysis of the pink plaster revealed that iron is present, thereby indicating the presence of iron oxides. A high quantity of calcium, most probably from calcium carbonates, was also detected. In addition, EDS microanalysis showed the presence of large amounts of aluminium, silicon and potassium suggesting the presence of clay minerals. Table 1 illustrates the major ions present in the samples analysed by EDS microanalysis and the expected coloring material.
Conclusions The preliminary examination of pigments was performed indicating extensive usage of pigments commonly used in ancient Egyptian wall paintings. The pigments identified by optical observations, element analyses and morphological study had shown that: 1. The EDS detection of iron in yellowish-brown spots in green pigment samples indicates that the green-turquoise pigment was probably produced using Egyptian green and yellowish-brown pigment based on iron oxides, or the color was probably
Table 1. EDS results, stratigraphy and the possible coloring material of the studied samples.
Sample Blue-green pigments
EDS microanalysis Stratigraphy Si, Ca, Cu, Fe, Ti 50-90 µm
Coloring material Egyptian green + yellowish-brown pigment of iron oxides (to produce special hues?) or Egyptian blue + yellowish-brown of iron oxides (to produce green color?) Red ochre (hematite) Quartz, calcite and calcium sulphates (gypsum/anhydrite) Calcite/dolomite and calcium sulphates (gypsum/anhydrite) Iron oxide+ calcium carbonates and sulphates + clay minerals
Ca, Fe, Si, Ti, Al
30-60 µm 30-60 mm 300 µm-10 mm 20-40 mm
Coarse plaster Si, S, Ca Fine plaster Pink plaster S, Ca, Mg Ca, Fe, S, Al, Si
EXAMINATION OF INORGANIC PIGMENTS AND PLASTERS FROM SAQQARA, EGYPT
obtained by mixing Egyptian blue with yellowishbrown pigment based on iron oxides. 2. The results concerning the red pigment are in accordance with previous findings by Mahmoud et al.  in their studies of samples from painted limestone blocks from the same excavations, the pigment being mainly obtained from iron oxides (hematite, Fe2O3). The presence of aluminium and silicon detected by EDS analysis suggests the existence of aluminosilicate materials (clay minerals, etc.) normally found in ochre pigments. 3. Two layers of plaster were noticed: the coarse one with higher thickness, consisting mainly of quartz, calcite and gypsum; and the fine white wash thin irregular layer consisting mainly of gypsum and limestone powder. A pink paste was also observed covering some areas in the walls; iron oxides, calcite and gypsum in addition to clay minerals were used to produce this kind of plaster. Further investigation of additional samples is now in progress using different analytical methods (µ-XRF, XRD and µ-Raman spectroscopy) in order to provide a more detailed image of the chromatic palette and the composition of these murals. The results will be used in the conservation-restoration intervention of these paintings. Acknowledgments The chief of Cairo University excavations at Saqqara area is kindly acknowledged for the permission to collect the studied samples. References
 R. J. Gettens and G. L. Stout, Painting Materials: A Short Encyclopedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966, pp. 131-143  W. Ullrich, "Cross-section Analysis of Paint layers Materials, Methodology and Examples", Journal of Cultural Property Conservation 4, 2008, pp. 49–56
 C. L. Silva, A Technical Study of the Mural Paintings on the Interior Dome of the Capilla De La Virgen Del Rosario, Iglesia San José, San Juan, Puerto Rico, MSc. thesis, University of Pennsylvania, USA, 2006  A. S. Škapin, P. Ropret and P. Bukovec, "Determination of pigments in colour layers on walls of some selected historical buildings using optical and scanning electron microscopy", Materials Characterization 58, 2007, pp. 1138–1147  A. El Goresy, "Polychromatic Wall Painting Decorations in Monuments of Pharaonic Egypt: Compositions, Chronology and Painting Technique", in The Wall Paintings of Thera: Proceedings of the First International Symposium, Volume I, S. Sherratt (Ed.), Thera (Hellas, Greece), 30 August - 4 September, 1997, pp. 49-70  S. Pagés-Camagna and S. Colinart, "The Egyptian Green pigment: Its Manufacturing process and links to Egyptian blue", Archaeometry 45:4, 2003, pp. 637–658  L. Mirtit, A. Appolonia, R. Casoli, P. Ferrari, E. A. Lurenti, C. Amisano and G. Chiari, "Spectrochemical and Structural Studies on a Roman Sample of Egyptian blue", Spectrochimica Acta 51A: 3, 1995, pp. 437-446  G. H. Hatton, A. J. Shortland and M. S. Tite, "The production technology of Egyptian blue and green frits from second millennium BC Egypt and Mesopotamia", Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 6, 2008, pp. 1591–1604  J. L. Mortimore, L-J. R. Marshall, M.J. Almond, P. Hollins, W. Matthews, "Analysis of red and yellow ochre samples from Clearwell Caves and Çatalhöyük by vibrational spectroscopy and other techniques", Spectrochimica Acta Part A 60, 2004, pp. 1179–1188  D. Hradil, T. Grygar, J. Hradilova, P. Bezdička, "Clay and iron oxide pigments in the history of painting", Applied Clay Science 22, 2003, pp. 223–236  M. Berry, "A study of pigments from a Roman Egyptian shrine", AICCM Bulletin, December 1999, pp. 1-9
HUSSEIN HASSAN M.H. MAHMOUD
 H. H. M. Mahmoud, M.F. Ali, N. Kantiranis, A. N. Anthemidis, J. A. Stratis, "Identification of some ancient Egyptian pigments in painted limestone block from Cairo University excavations at Saqqara area", The first conference of faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University (Giza through ages), Cairo, Egypt, March 3-6, 2008
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HUSSEIN HASSAN M.H. MAHMOUD
Conservator Contact: email@example.com Hussein Hassan Mahmoud is a conservator of mural paintings. He is currently Assistant lecturer at the Conservation Department of the Faculty of Archaeology at the Cairo University, Egypt. Mr. Mahmoud has a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Works of Art from the Cairo University and a Master’s degree in Conservation of Mural Paintings from the same university. At the moment he is working on his PhD thesis focusing on the degradation of ancient Egyptian pigments in mural paintings. In 2001 he participated in the conservationrestoration project of the decorated wooden ceilings of El-Ghuri mosque, Old Cairo. In 20022004 he also participated in the conservationrestoration project of the ancient mural paintings of two Pharaonic tombs (TT277, 278), Western Thebes, Upper Egypt, in collaboration with the Higher Supreme of Antiquities in Egypt. His main interests are the application of nanotechnology in conservation and the application of modern analytical techniques, namely microRaman and micro-FTIR spectroscopy, micro-XRF and SEM-EDS microanalysis, in the characterisation and diagnosis of mural paintings and objects of cultural heritage.
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LES DILEMMES PHILOSOPHIQUES DE LA CONSERVATION-RESTAURATION
by Pierre Leveau
RÉSUMÉ L’auteur formule un des dilemmes actuels de la conservation-restauration, qui oblige la discipline à choisir entre l’unification de ses théories et l’extension de son territoire. Il montre comment l’hypothèse constructionnaliste résout cette difficulté. Le passage des valeurs, aux règles, puis aux normes, place la discipline au seuil de son histoire et met en question son intégrité.
ABSTRACT The author formulates one aspect of the current dilemmas of conservation-restoration which requires the discipline to choose between the unification of its theories or the extension of its territory. He then shows how the constructionnist hypothesis solve this problem. The shift from values to rules and from rules to standards establish the discipline on the threshold of its history and questions its integrity.
Un nouveau dilemme pour la conservationrestauration La conservation-restauration a été confrontée à de nombreux dilemmes au cours de son histoire. Qu’en est-il aujourd’hui? Sur le plan international, la XVe Conférence triennale de l’ICOM-CC (International Council of Museums - Committee for Conservation) est parvenue à unifier sa terminologie en adoptant une définition unique de la discipline en septembre 2008 . Au niveau européen, l’E.C.C.O. (Confédération Européenne des Organisations de Conservateurs-Restaurateurs) veut opérer un prolongement sectoriel de la conventioncadre sur la valeur sociale du patrimoine culturel signé à Faro en octobre 2005 . La discipline tente ainsi d’unifier sa théorie tout en l’étendant à d’autres objets. Il faut s’en féliciter. Mais on peut aussi se demander si ce double mouvement d’unification et d’extension ne la place pas devant un nouveau dilemme, que l’on peut formuler ainsi: ou bien la conservation-restauration unifie globalement son champ, mais perd sa cohérence locale; ou bien elle conserve cette dernière, mais en renonçant à son unité globale. Aucune hypothèse n’est évidemment satisfaisante: si la théorie perd sa cohérence, elle n’est plus fiable et ne garantit plus l’intégrité de ses objets; si elle renonce à s’étendre, elle ne couvrira pas tous les secteurs du patrimoine, et ne les conservera donc pas mieux. L’alternative est donc bien un dilemme, au sens où les deux hypothèses mènent à la même conclusion. Il place la conservation-restauration dans une impasse, en lui demandant de choisir entre l’intégrité des objets et l’unification du territoire. Si elle ne peut conserver les éléments qu’en renonçant au tout, elle ne peut, à l’inverse, constituer ce dernier qu’au détriment de premiers, ce qui n’a pas de sens. On attribue au sophiste Protagoras l’invention de ce type d’argument capiteux, n’offrant de choix
qu’en apparence . Au disciple qui le menaçait d’un procès s’il ne lui remboursait pas son salaire d’enseignant, car l’art de plaider qu’il lui avait appris ne le faisait jamais gagner, le savant répondit qu’une victoire au tribunal lui donnerait tort en lui donnant raison, et qu’il ne lui devait donc rien. Il s’agit de savoir si le dilemme que l’on vient de formuler est aussi un sophisme. Si ce n’est pas le cas, il faut se demander comment échapper à sa conclusion fatale, puisque la conservation-restauration devra sans doute s’engager dans la voie ouverte par l’ICOM-CC et l’E.C.C.O. pour continuer à se développer. Qu’est-ce à dire? Comment la conservation-restauration peut-elle simultanément étendre et unifier son champ pour préserver l’intégralité et l’authenticité de ses objets? Le pluralisme Le monde de la conservation-restauration est pluraliste, par son axiologie, son ontologique, son organisation scientifique et administrative. C’est ce qui le rend si propice aux antinomies et aux dilemmes de toutes sortes. Son axiologie est essentiellement plurielle. Elle doit multiplier les valeurs pour s’ouvrir à toutes les cultures: le projet de l’E.C.C.O. précédemment cité en évoque six , différentes de celles qui figuraient déjà dans ses règles professionnelles en 1993 , elles-mêmes issues des travaux menés à l’ICOM-CC et l’ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) vingt ans auparavant , et de la Charte fondatrice adoptée par l’ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) en 1965 . L’UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) a permis l’émancipation culturelle des pays émergents et aucune organisation ne peut aujourd’hui prétendre
LES DILEMMES PHILOSOPHIQUES DE LA CONSERVATION-RESTAURATION
être la gardienne des valeurs de «la civilisation» , comme la Société des Nations le fit en 1932, avant la décolonisation . Les chartes actuelles parlent moins de valeur que de signification. Elles évitent ainsi l’écueil du relativisme en passant de l’axiologie à la sémiologique. Le monde qu’elles régulent est aussi pluraliste par son ontologie. Le principe de la diversité culturelle ne suffit pas à expliquer la multiplication des valeurs patrimoniales. Elle est ontologiquement fondée. Les problèmes de conservation-restauration ne sont pas les mêmes dans tous les secteurs. Il existe des différences de natures irréductibles entre les objets patrimonialisés: ce ne sont pas tous des artéfacts, puisqu’il existe un patrimoine naturel; ils n’existent pas tous sur le même mode, car certains biens sont reproductibles et d’autres non; ils fonctionnent différemment, la contemplation suffisant dans certains cas, mais pas dans tous. La prolifération des sens et des valeurs est une conséquence de cette diversité. Le monde qu’ils forment est enfin pluraliste pas son organisation sociale et technique. Son pluralisme ontologique légitime une multiplicité d’approches scientifiques et des directions administratives. La conservation-restauration du patrimoine mobilise autant de savoir sur un objet qu’il a d’éléments constitutifs et de valeurs véhiculées. On ne conserve pas de la même façon les monuments et les archives, les tableaux et les livres, le matériel archéologique et le patrimoine industriel. Ces différences justifient existence de spécialités et de services autonomes, tenant compte de la nature particulière des objets dans chaque secteur. Ce pluralisme axiologique, ontologique, scientifique et administratif n’exclut cependant pas le monisme. Les moyens mis en œuvre sont différents, mais la fin reste la même. La diversité des techniques, des services, des êtres et des valeurs n’empêche
pas l’unification de la discipline. Elle accepte une même déontologie dans tous les secteurs et tâche aujourd’hui de normaliser ses procédures. Si le pluralisme des moyens ne s’oppose donc pas au monisme des fins, la question de la nature de cette unité n’en est pas moins problématique. Est-elle nominale ou réelle? Existe-t-il différents mondes de la conservation-restauration, ou n’en font-ils qu’un? Le différend des valeurs La thèse défendue par Aloïs Riegl dans son ouvrage de 1903 est un plaidoyer en faveur du pluralisme. Il explique pourquoi des choix opposés sur les monuments peuvent être également légitimes, sans que l’on puisse trancher leurs différends . Il existe selon lui six valeurs, ou critère de jugement, permettant de se prononcer sur l’avenir d’un édifice. Il les répartit en deux groupes. Les premières sont liées au passé et au témoignage que livre l’objet: ce sont l’ancienneté, l’histoire et l’intention, qui forment le groupe des valeurs de remémoration. Les secondes dépendent du présent et de son intégrité: ce sont l’usage, la nouveauté et l’art, qui forment le groupe des valeurs de contemporanéité. Le problème est que ces valeurs légitiment des choix incompatibles sur l’avenir des monuments. L’impératif de conservation liée à l’historicité de l’objet s’oppose, par exemple, à celui de restauration, qui se réfère à l’intention de l’auteur, aussi bien qu’à la nouveauté ou à l’ancienneté, mutuellement inconciliable. Aucun groupe de valeur ne forme un système cohérent, si bien que l’axiologie du patrimoine ressemble plus à un champ de bataille qu’à un univers harmonieux. À chaque raison s’en oppose une autre de force égale, dans une logique du conflit généralisé, où le triomphe l’une valeur sur d’autres
dépend de sa capacité à tisser des alliances pour faire pencher la balance de son côté. L’axiologie de Riegl fournit ainsi aux spécialistes du patrimoine la matrice qui leur a servi à formuler la plupart des dilemmes de la discipline, devenus depuis des lieux communs. La stricte conservation semble exclure l’exposition, aussi bien que la restauration, qui paraît s’opposer à la recherche, etc. Si l’on ne peut tout conserver, il faut accepter de sacrifier pour préserver, et l’on ne peut trancher les dilemmes qui se présenteront sans avoir auparavant réglé la question du choix des valeurs patrimoniales. Sont-elles toutes légitimes, comme l’affirme Riegl? Comment faire des sacrifices sans susciter de conflits, lorsqu’il n’existe pas de règles communes, mais seulement de coalitions précaires? Le propre du dilemme est, selon Jean-François Lyotard, de faire des victimes et de créer des différends . C’est toujours un problème, c’està-dire une disjonction de deux propositions contraires, ou contradictoires, impliquant un choix entre des possibles après délibération. Mais à la différence d’une simple alternative, où l’on peut justifier sa décision à l’aide d’une règle admise par tous, le dilemme laisse le sujet seul face à luimême, en le privant de référant extérieur. C’est ce qui arriva au disciple de Protagoras, après que celui-ci lui ait montré qu’il aurait tort de se rendre au tribunal pour y plaider sa cause. Ce fut aussi le lot de Rodrigue, forcé de venger son père pour mériter l’amour de celle qu’il perdait ainsi . C’est encore celui des restaurateurs, des conservateurs, des scientifiques et du public inquiet de l’avenir du patrimoine. Les uns s’estiment souvent lésés par le choix des autres et tous s’accusent mutuellement, sans pouvoir saisir un juge, ni porter plainte au tribunal. C’est pourquoi leurs dilemmes ne font pas d’eux
des plaignants, mais des victimes. Ils ont en effet subi un dommage. Mais une victime ne devient un « plaignant », poursuit J.-F. Lyotard, que s’il existe un idiome permettant de demander réparation et un tribunal autorisé à en juger. Si ces deux conditions ne sont pas réunies, elle reste ce qu’elle est: une simple «victime», incapable de porter plainte. C’est pourquoi les dilemmes en la matière de conservation-restauration créent plus de différends que de litiges: il y a bien des conflits dans ce monde; Riegl en a montré les ressorts. Mais ce sont des «différends», c’est-à-dire des conflits que l’on ne peut régler, faute d’idiomes pour les formuler et de tribunal pour les juger, tant qu’il n’existe pas de juge autorisé à les trancher à l’aide d’une règle admise par tous. Comment régler ces différends et rétablir la paix? Comment les spécialistes justifieront-ils leurs choix et plaideront-ils leur cause, s’ils sont juges et partis? La nature des règles On a pu croire au début du XXe siècle que les sciences expérimentales allaient résoudre les dilemmes de la restauration et mettre fin aux conflits . Mais l’idée dut être abandonnée après avoir suscité de nouveaux différends. En 1927, l’historien d’art français Andrée Blum publia dans la revue de l’Office International des Musées un article sur l’application des méthodes scientifiques à l’étude des œuvres d’art . Il y notait que les résultats des analyses des laboratoires devaient êtres interprétés par les spécialistes de la conservation et de la restauration pour êtres utilisés. Ces données ne pouvaient donc pas trancher leurs conflits, puisqu’elles en devenaient parties prenantes au lieu de fournir une règle objective et impartiale. La persistance des différends conduisit l’OIM (Office International des Musées)
LES DILEMMES PHILOSOPHIQUES DE LA CONSERVATION-RESTAURATION
à organiser une première conférence internationale sur le sujet à Rome en 1930, immédiatement suivi d’une seconde à Athènes , qui conduit la Société des Nations à recommander en 1932 l’adoption du principe de coopération intellectuelle dans ce domaine . Les théories modernes de la conservation-restauration et l’idée d’interdisciplinarité sont nées à cette époque. La communauté internationale commença à se donner des règles, à l’initiative de Harold J. Plenderleith qui coordonna à partir de 1934 l’édition du premier manuel de conservation et de restauration des peintures . Au lendemain de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, après que l’ONU (United Nations Organization) ait succédé à la SDN (Société des Nations) et l’UNESCO à la CICI (Commission Internationale de Coopération Intellectuelle), deux voies permirent à la communauté internationale de poursuivre le travail entamé et de constituer enfin le tribunal, dont la «querelle des vernis» avait montré la nécessité en 1946 . Les noms de Cesare Brandi et Paul Coremans restent attachés aux instituts et aux courants de pensée qui sont parvenus à régler les différends dans le secteur des musées. Comment les belligérants ont-ils forgé les règles qui ont permis de trancher leurs dilemmes? Quelle voie ont-ils suivie? Sont-elles encore les nôtres? Leur accord de principe ne cache-t-il pas un différend philosophique? Le directeur de l’ICR (Istituto Centrale per il Restauro) et celui de l’IRPA (Institut royal du Patrimoine artistique) ont travaillé ensemble et sont finalement arrivés à des conclusions semblables par des voies différentes. Le premier a déduit les principes de la discipline de l’étude phénoménologique de son objet, tandis que le second les a abstraits du fonctionnement des commissions spécialisées. En procédant ainsi, l’un a soumis la
pratique à des principes transcendants, tandis que l’autre en a induit les règles immanentes. Alors que Brandi a mis en évidence une axiomatique par une analyse eidétique des œuvres, Coremans l’a construite en accordant les esprits par le dialogue. L’un s’est engagé sur la voie de la subjectivité, l’autre sur celle de l’intersubjectivité. Alors que le premier a voulu fonder sa théorie sur la nature même des choses, en faisant résider la vérité dans l’accord de la pensée avec l’objet, le second l’a fait reposer sur des conventions humaines, et a fait de l’accord des sujets le critère du vrai. Ils sont ainsi parvenus à donner à la restauration le fondement rationnel qui lui manquait pour devenir une véritable discipline. Mais leur accord final ne doit pas faire oublier leur désaccord méthodologique, qui place les spécialistes devant un dilemme philosophique. Les principes de la discipline peuvent être objectivement fondés, ou n’être que des conventions humaines. Ils donnent dans les deux cas des règles communes aux spécialistes, leur permettant de trancher leurs différends. Sur quel point ont-ils donc scellé leur accord? Que ne met-on plus en question dans ce monde, en dépit de la multiplicité de ses approches et de la diversité de ses objets? Le réalisme Le monde de la conservation-restauration est essentiellement réaliste. Il s’oppose par principe au réductionnisme, à l’idéalisme, au matérialisme et à l’esprit de système. Brandi défend cette position philosophique dans le premier axiome de sa théorie . Le réalisme affirme en effet que seuls les particuliers existent : le réel est fait d’individus concrets, composés d’une forme et d’une matière. Il s’oppose
en ce sens à l’idéalisme, qui admet l’existence de formes séparées: les idées subsisteraient en ellesmêmes, indépendamment de nous et sans support. Le dilemme du réalisme et de l’idéalisme est aussi vieux que la philosophie. Mais la majorité des théoriciens de la conservation-restauration a aujourd’hui rejoint le premier de ces courants. Ils considèrent que la matière des œuvres est le principal objet à la discipline, et non l’idée, identifiée à l’intention de l’auteur ou aux interprétations qu’on en donne. Cela ne signifie pas que sa signification lui soit étrangère, ce qui la réduirait à un simple travail manuel. Au contraire: toute mesure de conservation-restauration suppose que l’on ait d’abord saisi le contenu intelligible de l’œuvre. Le réalisme affirme simplement que celui-ci est inséparable de la matière de l’objet: il y «subsiste», selon le mot de Brandi, sans s’y réduire comme le veut le matérialisme, ni en différer réellement, comme le pense d’idéalisme. Le réalisme refuse de séparer le sensible de l’intelligible, et affirme l’immanence de la forme à la matière, tandis que le matérialisme et l’idéalisme tiennent chacun de ces éléments pour une substance et l’autre pour un accident. Pour un réaliste, l’œuvre n’est donc pas l’objet matériel ; mais elle n’existe pas non plus indépendamment de lui. Il faut l’y saisir et l’on ne doit conserver ce dernier que parce qu’elle y subsiste. Le réalisme déjoue ainsi l’opposition du matérialisme et de l’idéalisme. Loin de dévaloriser la conservation-restauration en lui donnant la matière pour objet, il lui donne pour mission de garantir l’intégrité et l’authenticité des œuvres, contre le réductionnisme et l’esprit de système. Les spécialistes des formations  et, plus récemment, Jean-Michel Leniaud  et Roger Pouivet , ont rappelé que ces abus théoriques menacent de dévoyer la pratique. La question est maintenant de savoir si le réalisme et le pluralisme per52
mettent simultanément d’unifier et d’étendre la théorie, ou sont incompatibles. Comment les règles seraient-elles les mêmes dans toutes les régions du monde, si l’on en admet la pluralité, en y condamnant l’abstraction? Son unité serait-elle nominale? Le problème de l’intégration L’un des dilemmes théoriques de la conservationrestauration porte aujourd’hui sur les modalités de son unification. Toutes les disciplines y sont confrontées au cours de leur histoire, qui ne commence vraiment qu’après qu’elles l’aient résolu. C’est ainsi que Descartes a développé l’idée d’une «mathématique universelle» opposée à la division du savoir, en illustrant son propos par une image simple: la science ne varie pas plus en fonction des objets, que la lumière du soleil ne change avec ce qu’elle éclaire; elle reste partout la même. La recommandation européenne sur la conservationrestauration demande de la même façon que les exigences de la discipline soient intégrées à la planification des projets sur le patrimoine culturel. Le concept de «conservation intégrée» sur lequel il s’appuie implique une extension de la théorie à tous les secteurs du patrimoine. Le dilemme qu’il crée consiste à savoir si cette intégration, qui va dans le sens de la protection des objets, ne met pas en péril son unité. Si Rodrigue n’a pu conquérir Chimène qu’en la perdant, le paradoxe serait d’accepter la désintégration de la discipline, en espérant que l’administration puisse ainsi l’intégrer à ses propres projets. Marie Berducou a déjà montré que la théorie de Brandi ne pouvait pas s’étendre à tous les biens culturels. Conçue pour les œuvres d’art, dont l’essence est singulière et le fonctionnement esthétique, elle ne s’applique pas au secteur du patrimoine industriel . L’idée d’étendre la théorie d’une région particulière à la totalité
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du champ de la conservation-restauration semble vouée à l’échec. Faut-il donc choisir entre unité et extension? Comment intégrer les principes de la discipline aux projets patrimoniaux sans en réviser les fondements? Le pluralisme et le réalisme auxquels elle est attachée condamnent-ils d’avance cette idée? L’analyse que Nelson Goodman fait de la notion d’authenticité ne plaide pas non plus en faveur de l’unité réelle de la théorie. L’étude des procédures d’authentification le conduit à diviser les arts en deux catégories . Lorsque la reproduction d’une œuvre ne fait pas de la copie un faux, comme c’est le cas en musique ou en littérature, l’art est dit «allographe» et le critère d’identification est notationnel; l’œuvre est authentique si elle est exécutée conformément aux indications de l’auteur. À l’inverse, lorsque sa copie n’est pas tenue pour authentique, comme en peinture ou en sculpture, l’art est dit «autographe» et son critère d’identification ne peut être qu’historique ; on est sûr de son authenticité si l’on peut établir que c’est bien elle que l’auteur a produite. Cette distinction qui repose sur deux procédures d’authentification sépare les biens culturels en deux groupes. Si la théorie classique de la conservation-restauration ne s’applique qu’aux arts autographiques et ne couvre pas tout le champ des biens culturels, on ne voit donc pas comment elle pourrait constituer le «cadre paneuropéen» permettant d’intégrer la discipline à la planification de tous les projets patrimoniaux. La recommandation européenne n’aurait-elle pas encore les moyens de ses ambitions? Quelle solution proposer au dilemme qu’elle contient? Le problème de l’intégrité Les philosophes du langage nous ont appris que celui-ci ne décrit pas seulement la réalité. Il la fait
aussi. Cette performance caractérise les textes officiels et le tournant linguistique qu’imposent leurs déclarations d’intention constitue ici un début de solution. Salvador Muñoz-Viñas a récemment montré que les théories de la conservation-restauration pouvaient s’engager sur cette voie . Supposons avec lui qu’un avion Mustang de l’armée américaine ait été patrimonialisé. Avant, on le réparait. Maintenant, on le «restaure». Mais on peut se demander s’il est premièrement utile de donner des noms différents à des opérations semblables faites sur des objets identiques, et s’il est deuxièmement juste de les confier à des professionnels n’ayant pas la même formation. Le passage de la réparation à la restauration est le signe d’une appropriation, qui a pour effet de fermer le marché. Ce n’est donc pas un simple jeu de mots, mais aussi une prise de pouvoir. L’intérêt de la réponse de Muñoz-Viñas est de les légitimer, en montrant que la patrimonialisation ne change pas la forme ou la matière des biens culturels, mais leur fonction. Le Mustang est maintenant un symbole. Il représente à lui seul l’ensemble de sa catégorie et, à travers elle, un épisode de l’histoire américaine. Il n’a plus une fonction motrice, mais symbolique. Il acquiert avec cette nouvelle identité l’individualité qui lui manquait comme produit technique. Muñoz-Viñas fait de la métonymie la nouvelle règle de fonctionnement de l’objet: comme la partie désigne le tout dans cette figure du discours, l’avion renvoie à l’héroïsme du peuple américain dans le musée. Sa reconnaissance par une conscience le fait fonctionner : elle lui donne une identité sémantique et une essence individuelle comparable à celle des œuvres d’art ou des monuments. Si le Mustang patrimonialisé est donc un trope, on a à la fois tort et raison de voir dans le langage de la conservation-restauration une simple manipulation rhétorique. Le patrimoine institue, autant
que le discours, un ordre symbolique. Mais qu’est-ce qui légitime finalement son institution? La patrimonialisation garantit l’authenticité des objets, si elle change leur fonction? Ne change-t-elle pas aussi leur identité? David Hume a donné une réponse originale à cette question dans son analyse de l’identité personnelle . Un bateau réparé, dont toutes les pièces seraient changées, conserve selon lui son identité. Un navire est un moyen en vue d’une fin donnée et celle-ci explique non seulement le choix des matériaux, mais aussi la forme de l’objet. C’est elle qui lui donne son identité spécifique et son unité. C’est pourquoi un bateau rénové reste numériquement identique, conclut Hume, tant qu’il ne change pas de fonction. Mais le philosophe va plus loin en examinant le cas d’une église sauvée de la ruine par ses fidèles. Même s’ils en changeaient le plan et les matériaux, elle resterait la même pour eux, nous dit-il, tant qu’ils continueraient d’y pratiquer leur culte. La croyance en l’identité ne s’explique pas seulement par la finalité, poursuit-il: elle s’explique aussi par la coutume et la fréquence. C’est parce que les fidèles n’ont pas changé d’habitude qu’ils pensent que l’église est la même, bien qu’elle ait entièrement changé. L’accoutumance est donc le principe subjectif de notre croyance en l’identité des êtres, conclu Hume, ceci valant aussi pour chacun de nous. Nous ne restons pas identiques à nousmêmes au cours du temps: nous nous construisons sans cesse, comme les fidèles rebaptisent l’église, et nos perceptions actuelles recomposent régulièrement notre être en s’ajoutant aux anciennes. Si nous croyons être les mêmes, c’est parce que la transition coutumière que nous faisons entre nos idées nous donne le sentiment de la continuité de notre vie psychique. Mais pour l’individu comme pour l’Église, c’est une foi fondée sur l’habitude. C’est une croyance subjective sans fondement ob54
jectif, conclu Hume. C’est une construction sociale. Comment garantir l’intégrité et l’authenticité d’objets, s’ils n’ont pas réellement d’identité, ni de fonction prédéterminée? Comment rester réaliste dans ces conditions? Le nominalisme Le nominalisme peut apporter un début de solution à ce dilemme philosophique. Il affirme que les universaux n’existent ni dans le réel, ni dans la pensée, mais dans le langage. Celui-ci décrirait moins la réalité qu’il ne l’achève, en donnant au monde son unité. Voyons donc si la conservation-restauration peut s’y convertir, pour étendre et unifier son champ sans renoncer au pluralisme et au réalisme qui la caractérise. L’exemple du Mustang donné par Muñoz-Viñas montre que la patrimonialisation s’accommode parfaitement d’un changement de fonction de l’objet, et l’implique même: on dit que l’avion est authentique, bien que son fonctionnement n’est plus mécanique, mais symbolique. L’exemple de l’église donnée par Hume ajoute à cela que la reconnaissance patrimoniale peut s’accompagner d’une transformation complète de l’objet, c’est-à-dire d’une perte d’intégrité: le bâtiment conserve son identité pour les fidèles, qui l’ont entièrement reconstruit en continuant d’y célébrer l’office. Ces deux formes de patrimonialisations peuvent évidemment entrer en conflit. Mais ce n’est pas le sujet. La question est de savoir si ces objets appartiennent réellement à un même genre, appelé patrimoine, et ce qui en fait l’unité. Reprenons donc. Le patrimoine est selon Hume une construction sociale, reposant sur le consentement populaire. Sa reconnaissance est pour MuñozViñas une opération symbolique, renvoyant métonymiquement à l’histoire d’un peuple. Chaque analyse apporte un élément de réponse. On peut
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en effet tenir le patrimoine culturel pour une construction sociale fondée sur une reconnaissance symbolique. Cette hypothèse est constructionnaliste et nominaliste. L’unité du genre qu’elle propose est simultanément nominale et réelle. Elle est nominale, car les objets qu’il contient présente des différences essentielles: le patrimoine artistique n’est évidemment pas industriel, ni le matériel, immatériel, ou le naturel, culturel. Mais elle est aussi réelle, car les objets qu’il réunit forment un monde particulier, en recevant des règles de fonctionnement spécifiques: la reconnaissance symbolique qu’on y opère dans tous les secteurs crée finalement un genre unique. Il se peut donc que, entre le mot et la chose, le patrimoine soit une forme symbolique, un emblème en même temps qu’un jeu de langage, une construction logique et sociale. L’idée n’est pas nouvelle. Mais on oublie parfois que c’est une découverte philosophique, dont il serait intéressant de se souvenir pour saisir l’enjeu du dilemme qui nous occupe. En quel sens le patrimoine est-il une construction sociale? Au sens banal du terme, qui en fait le produit de nos choix? Ou philosophique, qui le tient pour une forme symbolique? L’institution des normes La conservation-restauration tâche aujourd’hui de normaliser sa terminologie, ses méthodes et ses matériaux . Les normes qu’elle se donne instituent un monde où les dilemmes ne devraient théoriquement plus susciter de différends. Pierre Livet a récemment rappelé que la fonction d’une norme est de trancher les conflits opposant les valeurs et les règles . Elles les supposent, mais ne se situent pas au même niveau que les termes dont elles arbitrent les différends. Une valeur n’est pas une norme: les premières sont des critères d’appréciation, d’évaluation, alors
que les seconds des impératifs d’action, des prescriptions. Tandis que les valeurs impliquent des obligations morales, contraignant le sujet à agir conformément à ses choix, les normes créent des obligations sociales qui le contraignent à se conformer à ceux de la collectivité. Les valeurs justifient les normes, qui les instituent en retour. Mais c’est le conflit des règles qui les rend nécessaires. Celles-ci définissent en effet des usages, qui ne sont pas tous compatibles, ce qui est à l’origine de multiples conflits. Le différend des usages impose des choix entre des possibilités, que l’invocation d’une valeur ne suffit pas à départager. C’est pourquoi une norme n’est pas une simple règle, rappelle Pierre Livet. Sa fonction est de trancher les conflits sur l’usage des secondes. Elle règle le différend des règles. La normalisation de la conservation-restauration suffira-t-elle à résoudre tous les dilemmes? Ou les empêche-t-elle seulement de se formuler, en donnant au langage un nouveau lexique et d’autres règles de fonctionnement? Elle permet déjà de résoudre celui de l’intégration précédemment formulé. En engageant la conservation-restauration sur la voie de la normalisation, le Conseil de l’Europe donne en effet à la discipline le moyen de réaliser les objectifs de la Convention de Faro. Elle l’oblige à s’unifier, en adoptant une terminologie commune, et à couvrir tous les secteurs du patrimoine de façon homogène. Elle ne lui demande pas de réviser ses fondements théoriques, et ne lui demande aucune réflexion philosophique. Mais elle l’engage à son insu sur la voie du constructionnalisme. En uniformisant les jugements des spécialistes, les choix des praticiens, et les formations qui leurs sont proposées, elles font du patrimoine une construction sociale. Les normes les conduiront à trancher partout de la même façon les dilemmes auxquels ils seront confrontés et choisir les mêmes matériaux. Mais la fin des
conflits garantira moins alors l’identité des objets, c’est-à-dire l’authenticité, que celle des traitements, c’est-à-dire l’uniformité. De là à imaginer un nouveau dilemme, il n’y a qu’un pas, que l’on ne franchira pas. Disons simplement que la normalisation n’est pas un choix, mais une fatalité. Elle fait de la conservation-restauration une construction sociale et la dispense d’une réflexion philosophique approfondie. Faut-il le regretter? C’est le dernier dilemme «philosophique» de la discipline. Elle peut faire l’économie de la philosophie, en choisissant de se dissoudre dans les sciences sociales, ou y revenir pour accorder sa théorie à son orientation sociale et retrouver sa cohérence passée. Conclusion Le temps résout tous les dilemmes, promet Corneille à la fin du Cid. Mais les spécialistes de la conservation-restauration savent qu’il en pose aussi et l’avenir dira comment ils ont résolu les leurs. En ce début de XXIe siècle, la discipline institue des normes pour constituer son paradigme. Après avoir définie ses valeurs au cours du XIXe et s’être donné des règles XXe, elle est sur seuil de son histoire, elle en cours d’institutionnalisation. On a vu les dilemmes philosophiques qu’elle a dû résoudre pour y arriver: celui du pluralisme et du monisme, de l’accord et du différend, de la nature et de la convention, du matérialisme et de l’idéalisme, du réalisme et du nominalisme, de la métaphysique et du constructionnalisme, qui s’avère être social ou philosophique. Ce dernier dilemme est aussi celui de son unification et de son extension. La normalisation de la discipline commence à résoudre et lui réserve une issue fatale. Elle fait émerger un nouveau monde en le tranchant, où il faut espérer que les théories puissent s’unifier sans uniformiser leurs objets.
Bibliographie  I.C.O.M.-C.C., ”Terminologie de la conservationrestauration du patrimoine culturel matériel”, Résolution soumise à l’approbation des membres de l’ICOM-CC à l’occasion de la XVe Conférence Triennale, New Delhi, 22-26 Septembre 2008  Conseil de l’Europe, ”Convention-cadre du Conseil de l’Europe sur la valeur du patrimoine culturel pour la société”, Faro, 27 Octobre 2005, - Série des Traités du Conseil de l’Europe no.199  D. Laërce, Vie et opinion des philosophes illustres, IX, 56, Garnier-Flammarion, Paris, 1965, T.II, p. 187  E.C.C.O., Rapport introductif au projet de Recommandation européenne pour la conservation-restauration des biens culturels, §3, p.7  E.C.C.O., ”Règles professionnelles d’E.C.C.O., I: La profession”, dans Etude des responsabilités légales et professionnelles des conservateurs au regard des autres acteurs de la sauvegarde et de la conservation du patrimoine culturel, annexe, p. 316  I.C.O.M.-C.C., Le conservateur-restaurateur: une définition de la profession, Réunion triennale de l’ICOM-CC, Copenhague, septembre 1984, Avant-propos et §2-3  I.C.O.M.O.S., Charte Internationale sur la Conservation et la Restauration des Monuments et des Sites, IIe Congrès international des architectes et des techniciens des monuments historiques, Venise 1964, Art. 1, 3, 5-7, 9 et 11  U.N.E.S.C.O., Conférence de Nara sur l’Authenticité, Edité par Knut Einar Larsen, Nara, 1994  C.I.C.I., ”Résolution adoptée par la Commission
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Internationale de Coopération Intellectuelle le 23 juillet 1932”, La Conférence d’Athènes, Ed. L’imprimeur, texte établi par F. Choay, 2002, p.115  A. Riegl, Le culte moderne des monuments, Paris, Ed. Seuil,1984  J.-F Lyotard, Le différend, Paris, Ed. Minuit, 1983, p.18-25  P. Corneille, Le Cid, Acte I, Scène VI, 291-350 et Acte III, Scène IV, 869-904  J.-P. Mohen, Les sciences du patrimoine, Paris, Ed. Odile Jacob, 1999, p. 97-124  A. Blum, ”Quelques méthodes d’examen scientifique des tableaux et objets d’art”, Mouseion,1927, n°7, p.14-26  S. D. N., ”Recommandation de l’assemblée de la Société des Nations adoptées le 10 octobre 1932”, La Conférence d’Athènes, Ed. de L’im primeur, texte établi par F. Choay, 2002, p.117  P. Leveau, ”Problèmes historiographiques de la C.R.B.C.”, Conservation-Restauration des Biens Culturels, 2008, n°26, p.3-18  H.-J. Plenderleith, ”A history of conservation”, Studies in Conservation 43, n°3, 1998, p. 129-143  U.N.E.S.C.O., Le traitement des peintures, Paris, Ed. UNESCO, 1951  C. Brandi, Théorie de la restauration, Paris, Ed. du patrimoine, 2000, p. 31  E.C.C.O., ”Règles professionnelles d’E.C.C.O., III: La formation” dans Etude des responsabilités légales et professionnelles des conservateurs au regard des autres acteurs de la sauvegarde et de la conservation du patrimoine culturel, p.321-322
 J-M. Leniaud, Viollet-le-Duc ou les délires du système, Paris, Ed. Mengès, 1994  R. Pouivet, Qu’est-ce qu’une œuvre d’art?, Paris, Ed. Vrin, 2007  M. Berducou, «Brandi, l’œuvre d’art, et…” tout le reste”», Cesare Brandi, sa pensée et l’évolution des pratiques de la restauration, Actes du colloque tenu Bruxelles (25 octobre 2007) sous la direction de Nicole GeschéKoning et Catheline Périer-D’Ieteren, ULB, 2008, Cahier d’étude X  N. Goodman, Langages de l’art, Nîmes, Ed. J. Chambon, 1990  S. Muñoz-Viñas, Contemporary Theory of Conservation, Amsterdam, Ed. Elsevier, 2005, p. 27-29  D. HUME, Traité de la nature humaine, I, IV, VII, Paris, Ed. Aubier, p. 350  D. Aguilella-Cueco, ”CEN TC. 346 – Normalisation de la conservation-restauration des biens culturels: premier bilan”, Journal de la FFC-R, novembre 2008, n°16, p.15-19.  P. Livet, Les normes, Paris, Ed. Armand Colin, 2006
Philosophe Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pierre Leveau poursuit actuellement un doctorat à l’École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, sous la direction de Jean-Michel Leniaud («La conservationrestauration en France: histoire de l’émergence d’une discipline», EPHE-HTD). Il est par ailleurs professeur de philosophie et enseigne dans le secondaire.
Professional Association of Conservator-Restorers of Portugal http://www.arp.org.pt/
SECOND ARP SEMINAR
The Practice of Theory – Treatments of Conservation-Restoration
This issue contains the second part of a temporary section dedicated to the publication of the proceedings of the Second ARP Seminar, organised by the Professional Association of Conservator-Restorers of Portugal. The Second ARP Seminar, The Practice of Theory – Treatments of Conservation-Restoration was held in the auditorium of the National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA) in Lisbon on May 29-30, 2009. The proceedings will be published in Portuguese by the association and the English version of the articles presented at the meeting will be published in the next issues of e-conservation magazine. The series of articles in this issue is dedicated to the Conservation of Paintings.
DETACHED MURAL PAINTINGS IN PORTUGAL
The Conservation-Restoration of the Fragments from the Alberto Sampaio Museum in Guimarães
by Maria Alice de Sousa Cotovio
The fact that mural painting is inevitably linked to the architecture is changing in the moment paintings are detached and placed in a museum. The objective of the present intervention was the stabilisation and uniformizing of the detached paintings, taking into account the aesthetic feature as an important factor. The work was performed at the Alberto Sampaio Museum in Guimarães, in the same room where the paintings were exhibited, aiming to give visitors the opportunity to follow the several stages accomplished by the conservators during the conservation treatment.
MARIA ALICE DE SOUSA COTOVIO
Introduction This paper is focused on the conservation-restoration intervention performed on six mural paintings from several churches from northern Portugal. The paintings are part of a set detached by the General Direction of National Buildings and Monuments (Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais, DGEMN) in the 1930’s and 1940’s. These detachments were the result of a particular philosophy of that time, with different concepts than those that are theorized and put in practice nowadays. The main reasons for the DGEMN intervention were the discovery of the existence of underlying paintings, the poor conservation state and the intention to “recover the original aspect of the building”. “From 1914 to 1918 the mural paintings from S. Martinho de Mouros, Barcos and Outeiro Seco were acknowledged and studied by Dr. Vergílio Correia [...] although they were all in regrettable conservation state, ruined and covered by lime or repainted”1. “The General Direction of National Buildings and Monuments has proceeded in the matter of frescos, guided by the same criteria as for other works. If, in advantage to the monument and paintings, the mural decoration can be conserved in-loco […], the better; but if their maintenance involves any risk of damage to the work or special conditions require the intervention of the specialist, do not hesitate to remove them (...)”2. At the same time the mural paintings in Spain, and especially in Catalonia, also suffered major alterations, being removed from their original location, transferred to new supports and placed again in churches or museums. This task was entrusted to Cecconi Principe, an Italian artist with renowned experience.
It was in Spain that DGEMN contacted this artist to work in Portugal. According to reports of the Painting Division of the Institute José de Figueiredo (IJF), he performed the detachment of the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian and the Sacred Family, both from the Church of St. Salvador in Bravães. The other detachments were performed by José Ferreira da Costa and António Ferreira da Costa by the same method of Cecconi Principe (transfer to canvas). Some of the paintings were treated by Abel Moura who transferred them to a support of Masonite3 and later by Teresa S. Cabral who transferred them a support of glass fibber, honeycomb cardboard and Araldite. Finally in 2004 a room was inaugurated at the Museum Alberto Sampaio in Guimarães to accommodate 8 of the detached mural paintings. This was the first time in Portugal that a space for mural paintings was especially created in a museum. This event helped to resolve several problems: - The nomadism that these paintings have
1 In Frescos, Boletim da Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monu-
mentos Nacionais, nº 10, Dezembro, 1937, pp. 14 -15. Original text: “De 1914 a 1918 foram reconhecidas e estudadas pelo Dr. Vergílio Correia, as pinturas murais de S. Martinho de Mouros, Barcos e Outeiro Seco [...] mas todas em lamentável estado de conservação, arruinadas e cobertas de cal ou repintadas”.
2 Op. Cit., pp. 23. Original text: “[...] a Direcção-Geral dos
Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais tem procedido, no assunto dos frescos, com critério idêntico àquele que a norteia nos restantes trabalhos. Se se pode, com vantagem para o monumento e para as próprias pinturas, conservar in-loco a decoração parietal, ainda que esta seja posterior, tanto melhor; mas se a manutenção envolve risco de dano para a obra, ou circunstâncias especiais indicam a intervenção do especialista, não se hesita em remove-las [...]”.
3 This material was presented in the ICOM International
Restoration Meeting that took place in Lisbon in 1951.
DETACHED MURAL PAINTINGS IN PORTUGAL
suffered for several years; - The material instability of the fragments; - The placement of the works near their original geographic location. However, the concept of mural painting is naturally associated with its architectural support which is radically altered in the moment that the paintings are detached and placed in a museum space. Thus, the main objectives of the intervention on
these fragments were their stabilisation and aesthetic uniformizing. In our opinion, these conservation-restoration criteria are the most appropriate to follow for this particular type of intervention, being necessarily different from those applied to the intervention on the paintings in their original context. Table I presents the general course of the fragments from their detachment to our intervention in 2008.
Martyrdom of St. Sebastian
The Holy Family
Christ the Savior
St. Bernard, St. Benedict
Beheading of St. John the Baptist
Church of St. Saviour Church of St. Saviour Church of St. Saviour Church of the Monas- Convent of St. Francis, Church of Our Lady of in Bravães, Ponte da in Bravães, Ponte da in Bravães, Ponte da tery of Fonte Arcada, Guimarães Azinheira, Outeiro Barca Barca Barca Póvoa de Lanhoso Seco, Chaves
1936 1936 1937 1942-43 - Ceconni Principe - Ceconni Principe - José Ferreira da - António Ferreira - Transfer to a canvas - Transfer to a canvas Costa da Costa support support - hammering of the - Transfer to a canvas 2nd layer; transfer support of the 1st layer to a support in canvas and asbestoscement sheets 1952 c. 1959 - Abel Moura - Abel Moura - Masonite support - Masonite support 1954/59 - Abel Moura - Masonite support, fixation
1940 - António Ferreira da Costa - Transfer to a canvas Intervention support
1972-73 1972-75 1977 1975 1971-74 - Teresa Cabral - Teresa Cabral - Teresa Cabral - Teresa Cabral - Teresa Cabral - Honeycomb - Honeycomb - Honeycomb - Honeycomb - Honeycomb At IJF, without support, Araldite support, Araldite support, Araldite support, Araldite support, Araldite intervention and glass fibber and glass fibber and glass fibber and glass fibber and glass fibber 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 - Mural da História - Mural da História - Mural da História - Mural da História - Mural da História - Mural da História - Conservation - Conservation - Conservation - Conservation - Conservation - Punctual conservation
MARIA ALICE DE SOUSA COTOVIO
Intervention The intervention performed in the 1970’s by IJF proved to be effective given the present good conservation state of the paintings. However, as expected, they suffered minor natural alterations, specific to the techniques used. The treatment that
was usually performed some years ago, that of application of a very rough plaster layer left below the surface level, was substituted nowadays by the application of a less rough plaster, at the level of the colour layer. Among other reasons, we believe that decreasing the material roughness and levelling the layers will enhance the homogeneity and protection of the ensemble.
Figures 1-4. Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. From left to right: Before the detachment; After the detachment; Transfered to the new support; Last intervention.
DETACHED MURAL PAINTINGS IN PORTUGAL
The technical intervention was similar for the 6 paintings: photographic documentation, graphic documentation, removal of inadequate mortars, cleaning, removal of repaintings (when the technique, the aesthetics or the colours were dissonant), new graphic documentation, fixation, consolidation, application of new mortars and chromatic reintegration. The entire intervention was carried on at the museum, in the same room where the fragments are exposed. This was made with the aim to give the visitors the opportunity to follow the intervention. The intervention took 3 months to complete. During this time we offered support by talking to the public and providing orientation to the visitors, especially schools, by explaining the modus operandi of the intervention according to visitor’s age.
Figures 5-8. The Holy Family. Upper right - Before the detachment; Right - After the detachment; Below left - After transfer to a new support; Below right - Last intervention.
MARIA ALICE DE SOUSA COTOVIO
Figures 9-11. Christ the Saviour. From left to right: After the detachment; Transfered to a new support; Last intervention.
Figures 12-15. St. Bernard and St. Benedict. From left to right: Before the detachment; The reverse of the mural painting; After the transfer on a new support and reattachment of the color layer; Image of the painting in 1961.
DETACHED MURAL PAINTINGS IN PORTUGAL
Figures 16 and 17. St. Bernard and St. Benedict. Before (left) and after (right) the last intervention. Figures 18-21. Eternal Father. From left to right: Before and after detachment; Before and after the last intervention.
MARIA ALICE DE SOUSA COTOVIO
The beheading of St. John the Baptist is an emblematic work which widely studied during the intervention, raised some pertinent issues. The decision of removing the repaintings was directly determined by the aesthetics and symbolism of the work. Although it was necessary to remove some altered and fissured plaster as well, most of it was preserved as removing it would significantly alter its appearance. It was previously mentioned that the mural painting concept is inevitably associated with the architectural support for which they it was conceived. Thus, the separation of the paintings from the building causes irreversible transformations in both the support and the work, this last becoming, thus, a “museum picture”. Once a fait accompli, we tried to minimise the problems that could arise from that decision. For this, before the intervention we had to be fully aware of the processes the fragments went through.
Although the paintings were already seriously damaged, we tried to minimise the problems due to the extensive lacunas. Special consideration was given to the aesthetics without neglecting the ethics of the intervention. If, on the one hand, to perform total chromatic reintegration is out of the question due to the ethical concerns, on the other hand, lacunas alters the reading of the image. This duality obliges to search a middle solution that would respect the authenticity of the original painting and at the same time would allow to reintegrate the image just enough to provide continuity of the reading of the ensemble. The plaster should be compatible in particle size and colour shade with the surrounding painting. It should be not forgotten that being in a museum, the connection between the painting and the wall no longer exists. In order to alleviate this problem,
Figure 22. Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Aspect of the painting before the intervention.
DETACHED MURAL PAINTINGS IN PORTUGAL
Figure 23 and 24. Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Aspect of the painting during and after the intervention.
MARIA ALICE DE SOUSA COTOVIO
it would be ideal to create an environment close to that of the original location. The lightening is a crucial matter. The existence of windows to provide natural light in churches was an important factor for the mural paintings, the light being used to enhance a scene or a specific image. When the painting was transferred and moved to another space, a museum in this case, a similar illumination to the one from the original location should be provided. Among others concerns, a major problem of the mural paintings from the Alberto Sampaio Museum is that the paintings were detached from different locations. Thus, given the available space, it was not possible to provide the lighting of the common space to each of the paintings according to their original context. Also, the exhibit space was designed in such a manner as to give coherence to the group of paintings in order to avoid the impression of isolated “objects”, and rather offer examples of northern mural paintings from Portugal. Photographic credits No. 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 18 and 19 - Boletim da DirecçãoGeral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais No. 10, December 1937; No. 12 to 15 - Boletim da DirecçãoGeral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais No. 106, December 1961; All others from Mural da História. Bibliography
 Frescos, Boletim da Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais, No. 10, Dezembro 1937  Igreja de Bravães Ponte da Barca, Boletim da Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais, No. 49, Setembro 1947  Conservação de Frescos,Boletim da Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais, Nº 106,
 Igreja de Nª Sr.ª da Azinheira do Outeiro Seco, Boletim da Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais, Nº 112, Junho 1963  D. Rodrigues, A pintura mural na região Norte. Exemplares dos séculos XV e XVI, in A Colecção de pintura do Museu de Alberto Sampaio - Séculos XVIXVIII, Instituto Português de Museus, Lisboa, 1996  J. I. Caetano, “A pintura a fresco e as suas técnicas. O caso dos exemplares dos séculos XV e XVI no Norte de Portugal e a sua conservação”, X Encontro de História Local, Museu de Alberto Sampaio, Guimarães, 2002  Catarina V. Gonçalves and J. I. Caetano, “Um olhar sobre a pintura mural na região de Guimarães no século XVI”, X Encontro de História Local, Museu de Alberto Sampaio, Guimarães, 2002  C. Brandi, Teoria do restauro, Edições Orion, 2006  P. Mora, L. Mora and P. Philippot, La conservazione delle pitture murali, Editrice Compositori, Bologna, 1999
MARIA ALICE DE SOUSA COTOVIO
Mural Paintings Conservator Contact: email@example.com www.muraldahistoria.com.pt
Alice Cotovio is a conservator-restorer of mural paintings. She started working in 1983 in the Institute José de Figueiredo after which she attended the Higher Course of Conservation and Restoration and its specialisation of mural painting. In 1991, she co-founded Mural da História, a company specialised in conservation-restoration of mural paintings where she is the co-responsable of the technical and research work. She is also a founding member of the Professional Association of Conservator-Restorers of Portugal (ARP).
Study, Conservation and Restoration
by Carlos José Abreu da Silva Costa
CARLOS JOSÉ ABREU DA SILVA COSTA
The conservation-restoration intervention on the Mudéjar ceilings from the National Museum Machado de Castro, as a part of the rehabilitation and expansion project of the museum, focused not only on the treatment of the ceilings, but also on the reassembling and relocation of the wood panels. Originally provenient from the Old Cathedral of Coimbra, the ceilings were altered in structure, geometric decorative composition and colour layer. Besides the conservation-restoration treatment, the present intervention sought to remove the undesirable previous interventions that could give a wrong perception of the design and original location of the ceilings. This adaptation was recognised and the panels were contextualised not as simple architectural elements but as museum pieces. Introduction The conservation-restoration intervention on the wooden ceilings of the National Museum Machado de Castro (MNMC), as planned in the rehabilitation project of the museum, included the treatment of 11 ceilings with internal and external bin structures and of the flat polychrome ceilings. This article describes the intervention performed to the two ceilings belonging to this ensemble. The intervention was performed by Atelier Samthiago as subcontractor of Edifer Reabilitação, from June 2007 to December 2008. The work on the Mudéjar structures comprised, beside the conservation-restoration treatment, the complete disassembly and relocation of the final assembly. The Mudéjar Art Origins and formal characteristics The presence of the Islam in the Iberian Peninsula produced a society very different from the Christian
Figure 1. Mudéjar ceiling at the National Museum Machado de Castro, now designated type 1.
one but permanently in contact with it. The importance of the cultural expression of the Islamic society, often linked to religiosity, was a striking presence for the Hispanic culture even after it ceased to exist, having created one of the most original components of this culture: the Mudéjar. This new art, influenced by images of Islamic faith, would impose itself by the end of the 8th century having as main objective to serve the needs of religion and aspects of the socio-economic life. By that time, new buildings for religious purposes started to appear. The architecture played a central role in Islamic art as well as all the other arts depended from it. It is important to note that the figurative art was completely excluded from the liturgical sphere of Islam. Sculpture and relief were practically nonexistent in the decoration of monuments, its absence being greatly compensated by the ornamental richness of the plaster carved coatings, the mosaics
of glazed ceramic and, in particular, the wooden carved panels. The decorative elements inspired by nature - leaves, flowers, branches, etc. - were stylized to the maximum, forming their own compositions, reticulated, intertwined and geometric surfaces known as arabesques. Another innovation in the decorative programs was the introduction of epigraphic elements. In every type of surfaces - architectural decoration, furniture, etc. – Arabic calligraphy was used as a proclamation of the Koran faith and its beauty as formal element. It was between the 13th and 15th centuries that the entire Iberian Peninsula, Spain in particular, and Morocco were definitively converted to the artistic and cultural model of Mudéjar art, which gained great popularity and in the case of Morocco is still in use today. But what had marked the Islamic culture in the Iberian Peninsula of such singular and unique character that was not observed in any other territory dominated by the Islam? This singularity is owned
Figure 2. Mudéjar ceiling at the National Museum Machado de Castro, now designated type 2.
CARLOS JOSÉ ABREU DA SILVA COSTA
to a series of special historic circumstances that made possible such particular artistic manifestation to occur in this territory. For eight centuries (8th15th), the medieval Iberian peninsula, especially Spain, was divided between two political cultures and religious rivals: Christianity and Islam. However, political and religious separations did not prevent mutual teaching and cultural contacts and it was precisely from these contacts that Mudéjar art arose, at the border between Islamic and Christian art. The Mudéjar art was a long-term phenomenon, much more durable in time than other European artistic styles of that time - Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance. The Christian reconquest of southern Spain in the 11th and 12th centuries brought on a delicate situation concerning the occupation of the territory, in particular of the larger cities, for which there was not enough manpower to repopulate. When the Muslim population was allowed to stay in the conquered territories under Christian domination, being allowed to maintain their religious practices, language and legal organization, a new figure was created on the then social context: the Mudéjars, i.e., Muslims with authorisation to remain in the Christian Spain in exchange for a tribute. The existence of a cheaper, quick and effective workforce and the construction of a system considered more economic, together with a crisis and an economic recession in the peninsula, may partly explain the success of the Muslims work, especially in the artistic field, where they were structured by crafts and had their own terminology. The Muslim culture would eventually be assimilated by Christianity, and Christians would eventually surrender to the allure of Islamic monuments, transforming them into royal palaces or consecrating them to churches and cathedrals. It was this confluence of different artistic traditions that would eventually result in a new stylistic expres72
sion, so singular and unique, and different from each of the parties that composed it. The alfarge1 work and its expression in Portuguese territory From the formal point of view, the Mudéjar art is characterized by the combination of Christian and Muslim artistic elements. It is also commonly, although wrongly stated, that it takes advantage of the structures of Christianity and the ornaments of Islam. Returning to the basic principles of the Islam artistic representation, which formalize the vegetal elements to the extreme – with the incorporation of new motifs coming from Christian art, such as naturalist gothic flora - and register artistically the Arabic epigraphic elements, the almost abusive use of repetitive rhythms that completely cover the surfaces using patterns without spatial limit can be noted. From the structural point of view, there are several basic examples of the Islamic character applied in the Mudéjar architecture, the most important in the current context being the woodwork. The carpentry work was in fact one of the important legacies of Mudéjar art. There were many carpenters working in the Iberian Peninsula which were known for their peculiar way of working wood ceilings and beams with exquisite technique. The structures, particularly the roofs, were light and allowed an even load distribution on the walls. The Mudéjar art, undervalued in terms of art history, is one of the most genuine and particular art forms developed in the Iberian Peninsula. In what concerns Portugal – where this art had influence all over the country, even in places without any kind of Islamic tradition, and where the prestige
1 Alfarge is an Arab term meaning carved wood ceiling.
of Mudéjar masters reached its peak during the 15th century - the Mudéjar art was little studied and even less published. The alfarge work is not abundant in Portugal; without the significance it has in Spain, it would have been susceptible to get lost. Due to its material vulnerability to fire and the fact that it has a shorter lifespan, it was greatly altered and/or removed in successive restoration campaigns. In general, the alfarge work preserved until nowadays is characterized by an extreme heterogeneity and can be divided in 2 main groups, as Dias  notes: those located at the border - in Alto Minho and Beira Interior – which are the result of Spanish regional schools influence, and those located in the Portuguese territory, which comprise some workshops and/or teachers mostly from Coimbra and Évora.
Figure 3. Geographic distribution of the Mudéjar woodwork in Portugal. Table 1. Mudéjar woodwork in Portugal; referenced locations.
Location Almeida – Church of St. Vicent in Castelo Mendo Almeida - Leomil Almeida - Castelo Bom Almeida – Church of Vilar Formoso Bragança - Church of St. Benedict Church of Caminha Coimbra (Episcopal Palace) – M.N.M.C. Coimbra (Old Cathedral) – M.N.M.C. Figueira Castelo Rodrigo - Church of Escarigo Sabugal - Vila do Touro Sabugal - Sortelha Sertã - Marmeleiro Torres Vedras - Church of St. Peter Pombal – Chapel of Vila de Redinha Soure - Church of St. James Coimbra - Tower of the Archpriest Amaral Guimarães - Collegiate Church of Our Lady of Oliveira Sintra – Palace of Vila de Sintra Oliveira do Hospital – Church of Seixo da Beira
Date 16th century – First quarter 16th century – First quarter 1565 15th century 1413-1477 16th century – First half
16th century – First third 1508 1490 1387-1411 1508
CARLOS JOSÉ ABREU DA SILVA COSTA
Geographic Reference Évora Sintra Coimbra Guimarães Guimarães Guimarães Caminha
Name Azmede (Castilian Moorish) João Cordeiro João Martins Garcia de Toledo Gonçalo Domingues João Garcia Fernam Munhoz (Tui, Galiza)
Function Carpenter Carpenter Painter Carpenter Painter Painter Carpenter
Date 1466 1508 1413 1387-1411 1387-1411 1387-1411 1565
Table 2. Mudéjar woodwork in Portugal; referenced artists (painters and carpenters).
The Mudéjar ceilings from the National Museum Machado de Castro Historic and Artistic context Information such as the interpretation and analysis of the formal composition, aesthetics, iconography and history of the object are of the outmost importance for those who undertake a conservation intervention. Normally, this kind of information helps to contextualise the intervention and to establish actions and methodologies to use in the treatment. However, there is almost no information concerning Mudéjar art, especially on timbering and alfarge. It is therefore imperative to fully explore the theoretical, historical and technical considerations, bearing in mind that during intervention is the best time to clarify uncertainties, acquire data and enhance theoretical knowledge. The Mudéjar ceilings were made during the bishopric of João Galvão in Coimbra, between 1460 and 1481, to decorate the background of the high choir support of the Old Cathedral of Coimbra. The ceilings are an example where the use of an ornamental Islamic system corresponds perfectly to the religious needs of the Christian population. They date from 1469, the likely construction date of the Old Cathedral’s high choir. It is believed that they were painted and gilded in 1477, as outlined on a wood beam. “It was in 1469 that the choir was inaugurated.
It occupied all the space of a big nave from the main door till the second pillars. Two arches [...] served as support to the choir. Those from the first section of the nave who would lift their eyes would see some beautiful Mudéjar ceilings that dressed the choir from underneath – these ceilings were precious and very rare examples in Portugal.” . It is from an albumin print dated 1880, of unknown author and that belongs to the collection of Alexandre Ramires, and a sketch dated 1894, made during the demolition by Prof. A. Gonçalves, that we can seen with clarity the presence of the panels covering completely the high choir support. The campaigns in 1894 promoted by A. Gonçalves led to the disappearance of much of the works, the high choir being completely dismantled and the pieces transferred to the then Bishop's Palace. Later these were incorporated into the Museum Collection – "The Mudéjars ceilings that were moved from the Old Cathedral to the low lands of the new cathedral were beautifully recovered here" . Formal description and interventions after the execution The ceilings, now measuring 406 x 595 cm (type 1) and 406 x 590 cm (type 2), have structures and supports in chestnut wood, as the majority of the lace ceilings known in Portugal. They are decorated by alfarge work with geometric elements combined
Figures 4 and 5. Left: Plan of the first floor of the Old Cathedral of Coimbra, with original location of the ceiling (source: IHRU); Right: Albumin (owned by Alexandre Ramires) where the type 1 ceiling above the high choir can be observed. In our opinion, the ceilings would not form a completely horizontal plane, but 2 slopes broken by a soft horizontal, each composed of 9 sets of panels.
in the foreground in order to create similar interlaced patterns. The background is flat and polychromed with red, blue, ochre, black and gold leaf. The type 1 ceiling presents alfarge lace work in eight and sixteen points. The ceiling is polychromed and painted in shades of red, blue and gold in tempera on a thin preparation layer with epigraphic motifs in the centre of the azafate. The profiles, made in woodwork and artistically intertwined, are painted in white, red and gold. The geometric composition, made of broken and tangled laces, forms 8 and 16-pointed stars in the middle of which are beautiful golden rosettes.
The type 2 ceiling presents alfarge work with geometric lace motifs, forming stars and interlaces, although it shows a higher rigidity and styling. The profiles are white, red and golden but they preserve few traces of polychromy. We believe the colour layer was removed due to the fact that the new geometric composition of the profiles did not match the then existing painted decoration. An interesting aspect of the construction is that there are profiles in both ceilings that are assumed as part of the structural composition integrating the secondary timbering of the panels and have a decorative function at the same time.
Figures 6 and 7. Type 1 and 2 ceilings, repetitive stylising used in the profile decoration.
CARLOS JOSÉ ABREU DA SILVA COSTA
Figures 8 and 9. Construction system with double function elements: structural and decorative; type 1 panel, with combined 16-pointed lace. 1 - Bell; 2 - 'Azafate'; 3 - 'Ponta de Azafate'; 4 - 'Almendrilla'; 5 - 'Candilejo'; 6 - 'Aspilla'; 7 - 'Costadillo'.
What we see today is, in fact, only a diffuse image of what was the original alfarge work and decoration. As Dias refers in his attempt to organize the Portuguese Mudéjar Architecture , what we can see today at the National Museum Machado de Castro are “parts of the ceilings which decorated the entrance of the Old Cathedral”. The panels went through several interventions, both on the structure and on the polychromy, which altered their disposition and profile geometry. Interventions included overpainting and application of finishing and protection coatings such as waxes, varnishes, etc. (table 3). Laboratorial exams were performed to gather information for a better understanding of the characteristics and execution technique of the ensemble and of the sequence of previous interventions. It was also sought to quantify and characterise the stratigraphy, with the number and thickness of layers, for a possible removal of the lower quality interventions. Analysis to the pigments present in the overpaintings and polychromy were performed at the Center
Figures 10 and 11. Polychromy adjacent to the existing 'alfarge' work (evidence of intervention 1) and inadequate connection between different panels (evidence of intervention 4).
Original construction Type1 / Type 2 Intervention 1 Intervention 2 Intervention 3 Intervention 4 Intervention 5 Type 2 Type 1 / Type 2 Type 2 Type 1 / Type 2 Type 1 / Type 2
1477 Formal readjustment of the alfarge decorative elements Contemporary? General surface overpaint with new finishing Cleaning (scraping) with the removal of the colour layer (original and overpaint) Formal readjustment of the structural elements for adaptation to a new location General conservation work with application of new elements and wax-based protection layer Contemporary? 1911?
3 to 5 important interventions after the original execution are accounted for
Table 3. Interventions after the execution; quantification, characterization and dating.
Elements identified Ca Fe Cu Ni Hg Pb Sr
. . . . . . . . . . .
Vermilion (HgS); lead-base pigment, possibly lead white (2PbCO3.Pb(OH)2), earth pigments (FeOOH), calcium filler (gypsum) calcium filler (gypsum), lead white (Pb3(CO3)2(OH)2), earth pigments (FeOOH), vermilion (HgS)
Table 4. Chemical elements identified by EDXRF analysis and interpretation of the pigments present in the samples.
of Conservation and Restoration of the School of Arts of the Portuguese Catholic University in Porto. The pigments were identified by Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF). There are few colours present. The areas analysed by EDXRF identified iron, mercury and lead, from earth pigments, vermilion and lead white, respectively. These pigments are present both in the original strata and in the overpaintings. An organic black was also identified. The overlayers of pictorial strata were studied through examinations of cross-section by optical microscopy with reflected and polarized light at different resolutions. The analysis of the fillers present in the preparation layer was done by microchemical tests which detected the presence of carbonate (chalk) and/or sulfate (gypsum) anions.
Figures 12 and 13. Microphotograph of cross-section obtained by optical microscopy.
CARLOS JOSÉ ABREU DA SILVA COSTA
Layer description 1. White layer with presence of brown and translucent particles of different morphologies associated with the preparation layer 2. Translucent layer with possible isolating function 3. Orange layer applied in irregular shape, not visible in all the areas of the sample 4. Red layer consisting of birefringent vermilion particles 5. Gray layer consisting of white, brown and black particles of variable morphology 6. Irregular white layer of translucent particles 7. Red layer (vermilion) 8. Black layer with presence of birefringent particles
Table 4. Description of the layers.
Thickness (µm) _ 10 15 25-70 35 25-85 10 90
In general, the panels present two main sequences of strata: the first is the original one (strata 1 to 5) and the second (strata 6 to 8) corresponds to the overpaint. The preparation layer is essentially made of calcium filler (gypsum). The particle size of the filler is large and uniform and it was applied in two different layers. It is likely to contain also lead white, as identified in the EDXRF spectra. Areas without filler were also observed due to lack of cohesion between the particles and the binder. Conservation state – identified degradations Four types of degradations were identified in the analysis of the conservation state of the ceilings: the poor conservation condition of the support, including a strong biological attack of the timber support; the detachment of the colour layer of the type 1 ceiling; the presence of numerous non-original materials; the strong dirt accumulation, especially at the masonry level, where the weight of the existing rubble combined with the low resistance of the timbering could have induced a possible collapse of the structure. At structural level, a difference was noticed between the conservation state of timbering types:
the structural timbering of the building, mainly the one of the type 1 ceiling was strongly degraded by biological attack and led to its total replacement (in case of type 2 ceiling, the conservation state allowed its partial preservation after treatment), and the structural timbering of the panels, which presented similar degradations that are described below. The main degradation of the panels’ wood support is related to the large number of fissures and cracks: the natural movement of the wood, expansion and contraction driven by continuous humidity changes, combined with the strong oxidation of the nails and its consequent volume increase resulted in the appearance of major cracks. In the areas where many nails were present, the iron corrosion products contributed largely to the deterioration of the wood support. Furthermore, the migration of the corrosion products promoted by moisture altered the colour layer as well. The structural timbering of the panels presented similar degradations, having been substituted due to the lack of resistance. The possibility of its maintenance was considering but this would imply the reinforcement with new wood beams which would create weight problems and
structural stability and, thus, the option was abandoned. It should also be mentioned that some problems were observed due to the presence of fungi and dry rot. The conservation state of the polychromy also presented considerable disparities, mainly due to the massive loss of polychromy in the type 2 ceiling. The remaining polychromy was protected by the relocation of the profiles and was in good conservation state. Although type 1 ceiling preserves more of the polychromy, it was poor conservation condition, with numerous gaps of variable size and depth and severe detachments and lack of adhesion and cohesion between pictorial layers. A pronounced darkening of all the surfaces should also be noted, directly related to the existence of a highly altered varnish and a thick superficial waxbased layer, facilitating adhesion and accumulation of dirt. The ceilings were approached as a unique set in the conservation treatment despite the fact that it presented different pathologies and specific problems. The panels of type 2 ceiling were in a worse condition due to the location in the Old Cathedral and in the museum. At the Old Cathedral, the panels were always subject to varying levels of moisture and temperature, and even exposed to moisture from rain water or capillary ascension, while at the museum they were subject to sun ex-
posure from north and south windows. However, type 1 ceiling had more inventions, according to the fact that a worst conservation state had required a higher number of interventions. Therefore, and despite the problematic and particularities of each ceiling concerning the different degradations and causes, our intervention on ensemble aimed to achieve as final result an homogeneous quality in presentation, reading and aesthetic consistency. Conservation-Restoration Intervention The condition of the work itself defined the intervention on the architectural wood structures, making clear the materials to be used and the operation mode. Obviously, such methodology could not have been defined so precisely without a clear assessment of the conservation state and without performing diagnostic exams, interpretation of data and compatibility tests. The materials used in the intervention were chosen taking into account not only their compatibility with the original but also their reversibility and stability in time, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the object. The operations and the technical specifications followed the following outlines:
Intervention stages Preliminary identification Historic, artistic and technical identification; Specific photographic and graphic surveys; Definition of the degradations (mapping) Cleaning and local stabilisation Protection and provisory fixation of the polychrome surface; General cleaning and removal of debris Japanese paper and rabbit glue; manual and mechanical cleaning by controlled suction Digital photography Technical drawing (FreeHand)
CARLOS JOSÉ ABREU DA SILVA COSTA
Total disassembly, element conditioning and transport to the studio Treatment of the colour layer In depth cleaning;
Manual process, cell-air film and transport
General cleaning: commercial anionic agent (C2000) in distilled water (60/40); Overpaint removal: mechanical (scalpel) and chemical -punctually (DMF+Xylene); Rabbit glue; Acrylic resin Paraloid B72, in xylene Commercial filler (Modostuc) Acrylics W&N and pigments in Paraloid B72 Acrylic mate varnish W&N (polychromy) and wax (reverse) Commercial product (Xylofene) by impregnation and injection Acrylic resin Paraloid B72 (3,5% – 21%); Wood from the same essence as the original, balsa and commercial cetone-based pastes Wood from the same essence as the original; tannic acid (stabilisation) and Paraloid B72 (protection)
General fixation; Application of final protective film Levelling of gaps; Inpainting of lacunas; Application of finishing layer Wood treatment and others Disinfestation Consolidation; Restoration Execution of decorative elements; Treatment of metallic elements (bolts and others) Treatment of the structural elements Planning
Implementation of structural elements or restoration Chestnut wood of the original, if the preservation state allowed for its reuse Assembly; Revision of the treatment performed on the golden polychromy Intervention technical report Preparation of technical documentation
Table 5. Stages in the conservation treatment and respective technical specifications.
The complete disassembly of the panels was unavoidable due to various reasons, such as the treatment in the atelier and the relocation, and to facilitate the proper treatment of support and structures. Nevertheless, efforts were made, whenever possible, to avoid fragmentation and to safeguard various original elements such as connectors and assembling parts, often neglected. The intervention could have been limited to stop the degradation process, hoping that the museum
environment, providing the best storage and exhibition conditions, would act on the deterioration agents. There were, however, numerous previous interventions that needed to be corrected in order not to induce perception errors of the whole composition: the ceilings were not designed for the same place; the original number and arrangement of the panels was not the actual one; the lace geometric decoration in the case of type 1 ceiling did not correspond to the original, and the polye-conser vation
chromy was altered by the overpaints, extensively in case of type 2 ceiling. The decision to remove the overpaintings was taken after the assessment and study of the conservation state of the underlying polychromy and it was conditioned by two factors: the existence of original paint in a relatively good condition and the thickness and resistance of the overpaint layer which could not exceed those of the original layer, in order not to jeopardize its integrity during the removal. The inpainting sought to give a uniform reading of the ensemble in order to recover its full artistic potential. Often, with the absolute respect for the authenticity and integrity of works of art, one of the most important factors of a work may be disregarded: its aesthetic value. How many times what captures our attention in a recently conserved work is precisely the lacunas that, under the excuse of pseudo-deontology, are religiously maintained highlighted? Indeed, this aspect plays an important role in the concept of an artistic work and even in the most controversial cases, its conservation should prevail. Thus, without resorting to technical or material mimetism, the inpainting sought to restore the general reading of the panels. Retouching was made on the gold layer of the profiles in order to regain the continuity of the geometric work of the alfarge, on the central motifs with rosettes, on those elements of the new support which prevented a continuous reading of the background panels (in some cases just by applying a patina) and punctual areas such as lacunas that disturbed the overall aspect either by their size or importance. The contextualisation of the ceilings in a museum may be seen as a loss of the value of use, i.e., the inherent value to the purpose for which the panels had been designed and their function. However,
the panels disposition and location still succeed to convey their function as ceilings and architectural elements, and yet, they no longer have that function that is now performed by a plaster false ceiling. The panels were exhibited by a horizontal layout that by far best corresponds to the physical need of the building and even to the aesthetic reading of the geometric work of the alfarge, without distorting or altering it. The relocation of the Mudéjar ceilings was included from the beginning in the architectural project. Originally, it was planned to locate the two ceilings in separate rooms but the project was revised so that the relocation could be made in a single room. The architectural project also comprised the assembly of the panels based on a practical two-way system: on the one hand, convenient for conservation, as the system allows the treatment of individual panels because they were mounted individually; and on the other hand, advantageous for exhibition, by changing in a simple way their distance from the floor. The mounting system includes the use of numerous threaded rods that allow the vertical movement of the panels, changing the exhibiting distance with 15 to 100 cm from the ceiling and makes possible the partial or total disassembly for future maintenance operations.
Figure 14. Constructive scheme for a dynamic system of the panel assembly.
CARLOS JOSÉ ABREU DA SILVA COSTA
Conclusion It was an intense challenge to assimilate such complex project of rehabilitation; it was also a great responsibility to carry on an intervention on the heritage of a museum that is without doubt one of the most important, well equipped and planned in terms of design on a national level. The communication between a the members of a large working team - architects, engineers, curators, archaeologists, historians – with the collaboration of various professions - construction, carpentry, electricity, archaeology and conservation - actually represented a big challenge, which gave everyone a broad work experience that no theoretical knowledge can replace. Caminha, Porto, 2006 Catálogo Guia. Museu Machado de Castro. Secções de Arte e Arqueologia, Coimbra, 1941 V. Correia and A. N. Gonçalves, Inventário Artístico de Portugal. Cidade de Coimbra, Lisboa, 1947 P. Dias, Arquitectura de Coimbra na transição do gótico para a Renascença, 1490-1540, Coimbra, 1982 P. Dias, Techos Mudéjares, El Manuelino El Arte Portuguesa en la época de los Descubrimientos, Electa, Lisboa, 2002 Notas, Museu Machado de Castro, Coimbra, 1916
References:  P. Dias, Geografia Mudéjar: Portugal, El Mudéjar Iberoamericano, del Islam al Nuevo Mundo, Barcelona, 1996  A. Vasconcelos, Sé-Velha de Coimbra, Imprensa da Universidade, Coimbra, 1930  A. Gonçalves, Enumeração das obras preparativas para a instalação do Museu Machado de Castro, Coimbra, 1929  P. Dias, Arquitectura Mudéjar Portuguesa: tentativa de sistematização, mare Liberum, no. 8, Lisboa 1994 Other bibliography A Arte Islâmica – A estética islâmica na Arte Cristã, Civilização, Lisboa, 2000 A. Amaral, Digital Ortho-photos & Photogrammetric Restitution - Ceiling of Mother-Church of
CARLOS JOSÉ ABREU DA SILVA COSTA
Conservator-Restorer Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.samthiago.com Phone: 00351 96 410 88 12 (PT) Carlos Costa (b. 1980) is a conservator-restorer graduated from the New University of Lisbon in 2003. From 2001 to 2004 he worked in part-time as a freelance for several conservation enterprises from Portugal. In 2005 he co-founded the conservation-restoration company Atelier Samthiago, where he is a managing partner.
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