Author of the first and still best known “Theory of Restoration” Teoria del restauro), Cesare Brandi lent intellectual dignity to restoration work, which until that time had been an empirical, artisan-type activity.
Given that the protection and restoration of works of art is a moral obligation for an member of civilised society and so its highest level must be recognized, restoration then becomes “criticism in action”. It is even more important because it is practised directly on the work of art, whose material integrity must be respected, as that is the only way to protect the artistic values of figurative objects that are inseparably linked to the materials of which they are made.
As it is an activity of criticism, restoration must be conducted in an interdisciplinary context, and ever professional (scientific expert, conservator-restorer, art historian) will play an equal role, albeit with the operational coordination of a specialist in any given work of art – the historian. The Teoria is an integral part of Brandi’s aesthetic production, which is laid out in the four Dialoghi di Elicona (Carmine, Arcadio, Eliante, Celso), in Segno e immagine, Le due vie, Struttura e architettura, and Teoria generale della critica.
Questo volume è la prima edizione inglese della fondamentale opera di Cesare Brandi, primo direttore dell’Istituto Centrale per il Restauro di Roma e tra i primi a sottolineare l’importanza del restauro e della conservazione dei manufatti artistici. Pubblicata per la prima volta nel 1963, la sua “Teoria del restauro” è proposta ora da Nardini Editore in edizione inglese, in collaborazione con l’Istituto Centrale per il Restauro, recuperando le 40 illustrazioni originali e arricchendo il volume di altre 40 nuove foto e dei saggi di Paul Philippot e Giulio Carlo Argan.
Author: Cesare Brandi
Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities
Director-General of iccrom
Caterina Bon Valsassina
Director of the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro
A Few Words about a Maestro, Cesare Brandi
The Phenomenology of Artistic Creation according to Cesare Brandi
Theory of Restoration
1. The Concept of Restoration
2. The Material of a Work of Art
3. The Potential Oneness of a Work of Art
4. Time in Relation to the Work of Art and Restoration
5. Restoration with Regard to the Historical Case
6. Restoration with Regard to the Aesthetic Case
7. The Spatiality of a Work of Art
8. Preventive Restoration
2. Postscript to the Treatment of Lacunae
3. Principles for the Restoration of Monuments
4. Restoration of Ancient Paintings
5. The Cleaning of Pictures in Relation to Patina, Varnish and Glazes
6. ‘Some Factual Observations on Varnishes and Glazes’
7. The Removal or Retention of Frames as a Restoration Issue
The Creation of the Istituto Centrale del Restauro
(Report to the Meeting of Superintendents, July 1938)
Giulio Carlo Argan
Cultural Education in the School of Restoration (1940)