Introduction to Conservation and Restoration I I


The purpose of this curricular unit is to provide students with the necessary theoretical tools that will allow a good integration in the exercise of the conservation discipline, promoting the development of critical judgment and an understanding of ethical principles, fundamental to the profession. In this perspective, understanding the historical background and the evolution of the discipline is also crucial.

At the end of the semester the student must:

i) Master the key concepts that frame the activity of Conservation

ii) Discern the evolution of the main theories and key theorists who contributed to the development of the discipline of Conservation, in a historical perspective

iii) Recognize the evolution of the profession, related with the development of the education of the conservator-restorer and the implementation of normative documents

iv) Develop and reveal critical spirit, in accordance with the ethical principles that govern the profession.

v) Develop the ability of communication and transmission of knowledge.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Agnés Anne Françoise Le Gac Arinto, Maria da Conceição Lopes Casanova


Weekly - 4

Total - 56

Teaching language



Available soon


Boito, C., I nostri vecchi monumenti. Conservare o restaurare? Nueva antologia, nº87, 1886.

Brandi, C., Teoria del restauro. Roma: Ed. di Storia e Letteratura, 1963.

Hassard, F., “Towards a New Vision of Restoration ....”Journal of Institute of Conservation 32, no. 2 (Sept. 2009): 149-150.

Muñoz-Viñas, S., Contemporary Theory of Conservation. Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005.

Riegl, A. Le culte moderne des monuments... . Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1984.

Ruskin, J. “Lamp of Memory.” Chap. 6 in Seven Lamps... British Authors 3951. Leipzig: B. T., 1907.

Viollet-le-Duc, E-E. “Restoration.” In The Foundations ... Dictionnaire Raisonné, translated by Kenneth D. W., 193-228. NY: George Braziller, 1990.

Teaching method

The lecturing of the different themes, is complemented by study visits for the analysis of heritage case studies, allowing a better understanding of the major concepts studied; as well as by the establishment of working groups to research and discussion of texts and heritage items related with the main themes, which results are presented by the students in oral presentation sessions and discussed by the class.

Students also have an individual research program (related with the group work) that will be evaluated by a written report and an oral presentation of each student.  A final written test evaluates various subjects of the UC program, individually.

Evaluation method

Assessment units:

1. Continuous assessment (10%);

2. Written test (40%);

3. Case-study in group: Individual oral presentation (30%) + Group report (20%)

In regard to the safety plan the continuous assessment will be done based in the participation in the videoconferences sessions and the theoretic and practical sessions planed for may. The written test may be substituted by an oral in videoconference as well as the presencial oral presentations.

The student must have a positive grade in each of the evaluation units to complete the course.

Be aware that: 

In any evaluation moment, students must also take into consideration the provisions of nº3 of article 10º of the ''Evaluation Rules of FCT NOVA'', “When fraud or plagiarism is proven in any of the evaluation elements of a UC, students directly involved are outright disapproved at UC, (…). ” 

The pandemic situation my require alterations to the programme and its evaluation. 

Subject matter

1.      Principle concepts

1.1  Cultural Heritage and Scientific Heritage definitions. Conservation, remedial conservation, preservative conservation,  and restoration concepts.

1.2  Notions of authenticity and ''''''''cultural significance''''''''.

1.3. Professional ethics and  restrictions of the restoration activity: reversibility and re-treatability concepts.

2. Evolution and conservation philosophies

2.1  The restoration history  and the origins of the conservation as a science.

2.2  Major restoration theories: from John Ruskin to Cesari Brandi.

2.3  New paradigms: from Salvador Muñoz Viñas to Frank Hassard.

3. Training & professional status

3.1  The role of international organizations in training and professional status of  the conservator-restorer.

3.2  Principal normative documents for the profession.

3.3 Relationship between the conservator/restorer and other professions: the interdisciplinary team.


Programs where the course is taught: