Charter for the Conservation

Paintings created by man constitute an important and impressive component of heritage. This creative art is always placed on a support and therefore, the preservation of the painted heritage constitute both the conservation of the supported fabric or edifice, and also the pigmented layer as well…Cultural preferences, artistic expressions and technical achievements, are considered the three major facets of the painted heritage. In the conservation of paintings, it is necessary to focus attention on all these three factors to achieve the best results.
The story of painting covers a long period extending through millennia. Rock Art belongs to the earliest remaining artistic creations of man, dating back to 28,000 BP, or even earlier, as evidenced in Southern Africa. But these were created by applying earth pigments on an unprepared rock surface. With time, techniques were evolved and these became more refined, where the paintings were drawn on a prepared paint receiving layer below which was a well worked plaster surface. Thus the charter on paintings may have to extend its legitimacy even to this early phase, in order to keep to the higher aspirations of good practice and that with the widest application. In so doing, the Rock Art of the prehistoric period, may also be brought into the fold of the charter at some date, as being the earliest artistic creations of humankind.
Considering the above, there is also the possibility that the structure supporting the paintings, could be of masonry, wattle-and-daub, timber or any such varied base material. Thus, for the sake of accepting the widest range of application, these dissected differences will only be of technical interest.
Another technical ambiguity that may arise is with regard to ceilings and un-trodden floors/platforms, where these are also painted under the same techniques as those on the walls. As such, for the sake of this charter, a ceiling, a wall, or for that matter a step or stairway or a pedestal will all be considered as applied decorations, where the painting concepts are unambiguously applicable.
In the same context, the application of paint on statues and other low and high relief work, is also a much accepted feature, and therefore, such variations will also be within the interpretation of paintings for the charter.
Considering the preservation of cultural property, where painting techniques have been utilized in a sealed relic-chamber of a stupa in Sri Lanka, or the walls of an underground tomb as with the Egyptians and Etruscans, or even in living units cut into the rock or a bull side earth cutting, the heritage aspect of the monument will apply, and the decorated surfaces treated as paintings.
However, moveable items that may also have the same techniques of paintings, such as portable statues and objects of the household, these will remain as artefacts and not as paintings, unless the authenticity of the artefact is traceable to a static decorative element as part of a painted surface, to which it was originally attached.
Finally, it might be stated that of all the elements of conserved immovable cultural property, paintings may be considered as the most delicate, and indeed, the most vulnerable.
Article I: DefinitionThe heritage of paintings may be considered as that of the full range of painted surfaces, where the cultural property elements fall within the interpretation of paintings as discussed in the Introduction to this Charter, and are found in-situ.
Article 2: Protection PolicyThe vast number of painted monuments is humanly impossible to either document or legally protect. The appeals to humans for their respect and safeguard to such cultural property, may not apply as a one hundred percent solution to the protection of paintings, as there are other factors of destruction and decay such as climate, moisture, bio-deterioration and even the collapse of the support structure. Therefore, the best attempts of protection would be legally list the sites, and vigilantly monitoring these with a view to providing vital and timely conservation attention by trained professionals.
Article 3: LegislationPaintings, like all other items of heritage should come within the purview of all human beings and be an element of deep moral obligation. Such reflections of human conscience should be written into the statute books of the country with state, local government, institution and private owner obligations to their safeguard. Legislation should provide obligatory protection and also provide resource availability for such activity along with research and scientific safeguards at an in-situ level. Legislation to be on the concept of heritage that belongs to all humanity and all groups of people, and not only to the individual owners or of these, merely being the property of the state. The laws promulgated should forbid the destruction, degradation or alteration of the originals and the surroundings, except where changes are effected with the full knowledge and consent of the professionals and responsible authorities. Legal sanctions should be provided for any violation of these regulations. :Provisions by law should be available for new discoveries and those in a state of pending registration, to be cared for. Development projects should be made responsible to ensure impact assessment studies, on the cultural property in the vicinity of such enterprises.
Article 4: DocumentationThe state records of the painting heritage should be comprehensive as this is one of the most delicate items of preservation. Therefore, the fullest knowledge on each site will prove to be a vantage record. These records should have as many illustrations as is possible to communicate best, the heritage elements.
The individual records of each site have to be as comprehensive as is possible. The detail headings under which such records could be maintained are:
StructurePlasterPaint Receiving LayerPainted LayerProtective LayerThe above records should be maintained on the basis of « techniques», « materials » and « problems » related to each layer.
As much information as is possible, should be kept of these items of a technical nature. However, the most important data base to such heritage are the « copies of the paintings » themselves. The greater the number of such records, the better it is. The need to cover every nook and corner of the painted wall is vital, as one is never certain which square area is likely to be damaged next. The records to be, as far as possible, to the full size of the painting, and that in the « most lasting materials » as is possible, and using the best colour matching as could be achieved. Canvas, photography, digitised records are all being used today.
The next obligatory stages of “documentation” that needs to be carried out are:
DiagnosisTreatment StrategiesConsultation and Consensus to the treatment
The above three items of study should follow the same headings as in the previous paragraph and the details gathered and recorded in the relevant files. Such information should be kept in the permanent running record of the site and this will continue to be an important archival document. Under the three headings, sub-questions need to be answered, namely, « Causes » and « Patterns of deterioration ». This may have further clarifications to perfect the record by responding to deterioration through the action of
Under Human, the type of further details could be « Industrial », « Vibration », « Religious Practices », « Visitors », « Distortion in Reproduction », etc., etc.
« Intervention » is the final act, after all the preliminaries have been concluded. This too has to follow closely the outcome of the consultation and consensus reached by the experts handling it. Reversibility is indeed, a vital criteria in the formulation of the strategies of treatment. This course of action is the climax to all the preparatory work and therefore, should be carefully documented with photographs or with other records, which are kept carefully on a « before » and « after » basis.
The next stages of « re-integration » and even « restoration », have to be even more carefully studied under « consultation and consensus » and carried out only in extreme cases where there is no other alternative, giving due consideration, specially for living monuments.
Article 5 : Continuous Treatment and MonitoringMural Paintings are one of the most delicate items of heritage subject to deterioration and decay within short periods due to the lack of attention. Hence, these require consistent vigilance. Therefore, in order to maintain systematic monitoring, the treatment that the wall paintings have had since their first intervention should be kept read at hand. Thus a type of « Bed Ticket » that records the « diagnosis » and the « treatment » carried out so far, together with parallel graphic records of the painting in selected « macro areas » of about « one metre square », needs to be the parameters of the record sheet. The intervals of routine vigilance, needs to be fixed under each case and the work handled by professionals. Since regular vigilance is of critical need in terms of paintings, access to the cultural property at all times, needs to be legally provided even if it should be in private property. Where equipment to monitor the atmospheric conditions or even to ensure vigilance in terms of damage by visitors have to be installed, such legal provisions need to be provided. The controls of light valves and a type of lighting for the paintings is essential, and such provisions also should be available. Humidity due to over visitation is yet another factor where controls have to be in place. Urgent remedial measures to any special situation consequent to vigilant monitoring has to be provided at a statutory level.
Article 6: Presentation, Research and InformationThe presentation of the site and the heritage material should be primarily guided by the chemical, physical and other deterioration considerations. The form of presentation should also be subject to these criteria. At the same time, the public should have an opportunity to imbibe the heritage value of the precious material. Every opportunity should be available to the interested public and other scholars to research into the valued treasures of the past and to disseminate these findings to the wider audience of interested readers. It will be well to have a programmed research component built into the system of care to such heritage material. Public information is a subject where maximum effort should be exerted. The types of literature and particularly good illustrated studies are vital for such subjects on paintings. Visitor and veneration facilities to tourists and religious groups respectively, should be laid out. The accuracy of the scientific information that is laid bare to the public must be carefully perused.
Article 7: Professional QualificationsThis aspect of training at the different levels of specialization should be well provided. Be it the simple technician or the authoritative professor, on any specific aspect of specialization, all should be provided with opportunities to update their knowledge. The young incumbents to every level of intervention in painting conservation needs to be provided with distinct academic qualifications under authoritative Institutions, and these stepped up at each level to professionals such as UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM and ICOM should be consulted for guidance in these and other matters of professionalism. The various charters promulgated in allied disciplines like Archaeological Heritage Management – ICOMOS, of 1990, Cultural Tourism – ICOMOS, of 1999 and others, need to be consulted for guidance. Training exchanges to upgrade the knowledge of specialists and to keep abreast of parallel research in different regions of the world should be encouraged.
Article 8: International Co-operationSharing the common heritage of humankind is a concept that will find no opposition. It is necessary to strengthen this and provide every element of encouragement to such sharing of knowledge at every level of activity. The professionals in each Nation needs to link up with the corresponding Professional or Institutional Body of the World and should collaborate in upgrading the common knowledge and experience mutual to all contributions to International and National Scientific publications in the relevant disciplines of painting conservation will bane a major way to keep abreast with the research carried out in different parts of the world. Modern methods of communication using the electronic media can assist immensely in such matters.

zdroj: Icomos Slovakia

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