Historic Archive of European Restorers (ASRE)
European Network for Study and Documentation of Conservation-Restoration Interventions of the Cultural Heritage 2004-2005

In the very specific role of European “culture”, the dimension of conservation and restoration certainly represents a “unicum” in the world.

For many years the European scientific community stresses, through national and international “recommendations”, the need of integrate studies and crossdisciplinary researches on the history of conservation-restoration as a necessary element for any artistic and restoration analysis, as well as an essential instrument of investigation for conservation-restoration interventions.

Not only is the conservation-restoration recognized as an intellectual and scientific discipline, but even scholars, conservator-restorers, educators and those responsible for guarding our cultural heritage are now finally becoming interested in the historical development of the conservation practices and on the professional profiles.

The history of the profession of conservators-restorers is often linked to that of important collections and monuments, that are the results of the interaction between the artistic productions and the different owners, and so constitute a very particular perspective to the interpretation of the history of the various European countries.

During the last decades many studies and researches have focussed on this subject in various European countries, but unfortunately still not in connection and with coordinated methods.

The European project for the creation of a Historical Archive of European Restorers was promoted by the three Italian partners, the Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo, the Istituto Centrale del Restauro and the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, which for years have already been involved in national project ASRI – Archivio Storico Nazionale e banca dati dei Restauratori Italiani.(National Historical Archive and database of Italian Restorers).

The project, supported by the European Commission, saw the participation of other partners from four European countries (France, Germany, Spain, Hungary) and the participation, as associated partner, of the international organization IIC (The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works).

This partnership of institutes and training and research centers has given rise, through the signing of a Document of Intent by the participants, of a European network for the study and documentation of the conservation events of the Cultural Heritage, with the aim of promote a synergy between the various countries on these issues, to enhance knowledge and knowledge on the history of conservation and restoration with a view to mobility and sharing of studies and research, training activities, practices and techniques, protection, and the establishment of a Historical Archive of European Restorers.

For a long time, the need for integrated and interdisciplinary studies and research on the history of restoration has been emphasized as a necessary element for the analysis of any artistic and restoration criticism, as well as an indispensable tool for investigating conservation and restoration interventions. In the last decades various studies and researches have been undertaken in this sense in many European countries. Many of these, however, still only at national level and not in relation to those of other countries.

The purpose of the project was to create a European network of researching and educating centres and institutions, to achieve synergy among different countries on the issues related to the study and documentation of conservation-restoration interventions on the Cultural Heritage, in particular with the realization of the Historical Archive of the European Conservator-Restorers.

Digital collection of data strongly enhances the chance of exchanging and sharing information, which is fundamental to promote studies and researches in such an unexplored area.

In the long run, the purpose is to share, by means of a widespread telematic platform, data and information collected in many countries, in order to get an overall view on the preserving-restoring events concerning the cultural heritage and to identify new research areas. The first step will be the definition of a conceptual framework for the documentation of the preserving-restoring interventions on European Cultural Heritage, by drawing up common standards of description for the collection of data and information about conservator-restorers and their interventions in the Historical Archive of the European Conservator-Restorers.

As a result of this first phase, which was not followed by others due to lack of funding, is the publication Amplius vetusta servare.First results of the European Historical Archive of European Restorers project.

In consideration of the great mobility over the centuries of the European artistic heritage, of the conservator-restorers and their practices and experiences, today there is an increasingly urgent need to establish a network of institutions and scholars, to work together and share the results of research.           The possibilities offered by computerized data collection considerably increase the ability to exchange and share information, a fundamental prerequisite for the promotion of studies and research in a sector that is still so little explored.

Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo
Istituto Centrale per il Restauro
Università di Roma La Sapienza, Scuola di Specializzazione in Storia dell’Arte Medioevale e Moderna

Participant Institutions
Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo
Istituto Centrale per il Restauro – Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali
Università di Roma “La Sapienza” – Scuola di Specializzazione in Storia dell’Arte Medioevale e Moderna,
Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst, HAWK Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen
Universidad Politecnica de Valencia – Departemento de Conservaciòn y Restauraciòn de Bienes Culturales
Ministère Culture Comunication – Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France – C2RMF Paris
Allami Restauralasi Kozpont (Budapest), IIC – The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (London)

European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture