Fine Art Conservation and Restoration
The conservator-restorer of artworks is responsible for the examination, conservation and restoration of the cultural heritage, as well as for preserving their aesthetic and historical integrity. He or she is responsible for evaluating the material aspects of the object, carrying out conservation and restoration work and formulating preventative conservation measures to avoid further damage to the object. Conservators-restorers may be employed in museums, at other institutions which preserve cultural heritage, work independently or as salaried employees at a private firm, or teach at a specialized school. Conservation and restoration are interdisciplinary activities, and any diagnosis or treatment is done in collaboration with scientists and art historians, as well as the work’s owner(s). An extract from the ethical code of the E.C.C.O. (European Confederation of Conservators-Restorers Organization).
The teaching aims to train autonomous and responsible conservators and restorers within four areas of expertise: painting; sculpture; ceramics and glass; paper and book. It draws on the profession’s ethical codes (E.C.C.O.) and on the reference ethical charters (Copenhagen, Pavia, etc.).
The first year is dedicated to the technology of each specialism and to the study of artworks with the goal of understanding their conception and their ageing.
Starting from the second year, the theoretical and practical learning of the conservation-restoration of artworks takes the form of the application of different techniques to works chosen by the professors, depending on their didactic interest. The student progressively takes charge of every step of the treatment: preliminary examination, treatment suggestions, execution, photographic and graphic documentation, simple scientific analyses, and restoration records.
Each curriculum is oriented by the personal reflection of the student, the dialogue with the professors, and the problematic specific to each treatment. The work is punctuated by practical demonstrations and internal seminars. In the final year, a dissertation, based on personal theoretical and practical research, and overseen by an internal supervisor as well as an external specialist, brings the training to a close. The teaching is provided in the studio by 7 professors and 4 assistants, each of them artwork restorers active within the discipline. It is made possible by the complementarity of the discourses and subject matters taught in the art courses in optional tutorials, the general courses and the numerous courses specific to the studio. It leans on the internal synergies at the school (inter-studio training, partnerships with different studios – bookbinding and ceramics, among others) and is enriched by external synergies: inter university exchanges (Erasmus, among others), a compulsory internship in the first year of the master’s, taking part in worksites and internships abroad, study days and symposia, visits to restoration studios and exhibitions, etc.
Pedagogical coordination :
Marie Postec, art restorer