Lecture given at the conference “Sculpture Conservation, Preservation or Interference?”.
Cultural heritage conservation is a complex process that needs to take into consideration the dual nature of art pieces, both physical matter and cultural message. The physical matter needs to be cared for and brought back to the point beyond which regular maintenance is possible. The cultural message needs to be recorded and transmitted, in its data and interpretation. The conservation project needs to achieve all this: it may differ in the process’ alchemy, but not in the result.
This paper describes the experience of private Team of conservators working on public commission in the field of monuments and stone materials. Three case-studies related to interventions undertaken in 1982-1992 are presented: the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum, on commission of the Archaeological Superintendence of Rome, the epigraphic collection of the Gallery of the Capitoline Museums, and the structures and collection of Roman statues from the Atrium of the Capitoline Museum, on commission of Rome Municipality. Considering these experiences, realized in a very restricted geographic area, the structure of the Team, its strategy (both ethical and commercial), the tendering Institutions, the methods of project attribution are examined.