Principles of preservation: an introduction to the international charters for conservation and restoration 40 years after the Venice Charter

Petzet, Michael (2004) Principles of preservation: an introduction to the international charters for conservation and restoration 40 years after the Venice Charter. In: International Charters for Conservation and Restoration. Monuments and Sites, 1 . ICOMOS, München, pp. 7-29. ISBN 3-87490-676-0 [Book Section]


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Abstract (in English)

The Venice Charter, the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (1964), phrased 40 years ago by the 2nd International Congress of Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments, was also the foundation stone of ICOMOS since the resolution to found an International Council of Monuments and Sites was adopted in Venice at the same time as the Charter: the fundamental “resolution concerning the creation of an international non-governmental organization for monuments and sites”, whose General Constituent Assemble was held a year later in Cracow. In his preface to the publication of the congress papers Piero Gazzola, first President of ICOMOS, later rightly underlined this close connection: The results of the meeting are momentous. We need only recall the creation of the International Council of Monuments and Sites – ICOMOS – the institution which constitutes the court of highest appeal in the area of the restoration of monuments, and of the conservation of ancient historical centers, of the landscape and in general of places of artistic and historical importance. That organization must supervise the creation of specialized personnel, its recruitment and advancement. It must oversee the use of international exchanges and in addition concern itself with the creation of local international committees that are capable of counseling international organizations (UNESCO, the Council of Europe, etc.). ... With the creation of ICOMOS a gap lamented by every nation has been closed and a need which had been felt by every local organization concerned with conservation satisfied. But above all, it is to be recognized that the most important positive result by far of this assembly has been the formulation of the international code for restoration: not simply a cultural episode but a text of historical importance. In fact, it constitutes an obligation which no one will be able to ignore, the spirit of which all experts will have to keep if they do not want to be considered cultural outlaws. The concerns thus codified constitute for everyone today an unassailable document the validity of which will be affirmed more and more as time passes, thereby uniting the name of Venice forever with this historic event. In fact, from now on, the Charter of Venice will be in all the world the official code in the field of the conservation of cultural properties. With his words about the Venice Charter, the foundation document of ICOMOS, Piero Gazzola, who demanded high standards of the work of ICOMOS, standards of which we should stay aware in the future, was right. This Charter, to which in later years other Charters and Principles adopted by the General Assemblies of ICOMOS have referred, is admittedly in some respects a historical document typical of the time of its creation (cf. p. 28) and needs to be newly interpreted time and again. However, it is and remains an irreplaceable instrument for our work on the international level, and attempts to write a “new Charter of Venice” – one example being the Cracow Charter of 2000 – make little sense.

Item Type: Book Section
Petzet, Michael
Languages: English
Keywords: theory of conservation; theory of restoration; charters; principles of conservation; Venice Charter
Subjects: K. LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES > 06. Doctrinal texts, conventions and charters
A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 12bis. Theory of restoration
A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 02. Concept and definition
A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 12. Theory of conservation
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Monuments & Sites (2001-)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 01
Volume: 1
ISBN: 3-87490-676-0
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2010 08:40
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 10:32

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