Art Restoration and Preservation

May 8, 2001


All FYC courses have certain goals and exercises in common; they differ only in their subject-matter. Instead or your being required to take a series of basic skills classes, acquisition of these basic skills has been incorporated as part of the course you are taking. You will need these skills in order to continue your education, and to succeed in your professions after you graduate, whatever your career aims may be.

What are these basic skills?:

Good command of English, both written and spoken.

Familiarity with computers, including ability to type, to send and receive e-mail, to be able to send “attachments,” to search the VVEB for data useful to your education, and to search library catalogs both locally and world-wide for information necessary for the completion of your project.

Ability to work with others to achieve a common goal.

Ability to think both creatively and critically.

Instead of exercises designed to run you through the operations, but yielding nothing directly useful to you (like running a computer program’s tutorials), assignments involving the above-mentioned skills will be directly applicable to your project this term, and once learned, will be useful to you in future projects.

So much for the features common to all FYC courses. This particular FYC course has to do with Restoration and Preservation. The world has always been in danger of losing its monuments to mankind’s creativity, both large mid small. The great pyramids of Egypt have been used as stone quarries over the years. The Parthenon was used as a munitions dump, and subsequently blown up. A flood damaged thousands of murals in Florence in the 60s. An earthquake destroyed frescos by Giotto in Italy last year.

Restoration has recovered or at least arrested the damage to many buildings, paintings, and other artifacts over the years, and there is growing need for experts in the field. Even those who will never be called upon to do restoration work will be indirectly involved as voters or community leaders who have to decide whether preservation of a particular thing is practical, or even possible.

There is controversy over not only how to restore something, but even whether to restore it. A few years ago, Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling was cleaned. That led to a bitter controversy. Recently, it was suggested that the Leonardo’s Mona Lisa in the Louvre be cleaned. The Louvre says “No way!” (Actually, Mais non!) You will learn what the arguments are concerning these matters … why some museums refuse, or are at least reluctant to clean their paintings,

This course is intended to sensitize you to the need to respect and care for your visual heritage, and to understand the pros and cons of restoration. Moreover, you will have an opportunity actually to provide a restoration, and to make a lasting contribution to the community. This is not a meaningless exercise; it is a hands-on project that you can be proud to have accomplished.

Huntington Courthouse,1998

Sep/ 3 Thur Introduction to course. Divide into groups (each group should have one computer- literate person, one artist). Showing of Michelangelo laserdisc. e-mail assignment (What were the objections, and defense?)
Sep/ 8 Tue Computer lab (firm)
Sep / 10 Thur Slide talk on Santa Croce/Giotto. San Francisco de Assisi.
Sep/ 15 Tue Video of Court House. Slides of Court House paintings.
Assignment: Search WEB and library for info on Huntington Courthouse.
Also, find out about G.A.R.
Sep/ 17 Thur Visit Huntington. Find out what you can about the paintings.
Sep/ 22 Tue Lecture on G.A.R. by Gib Young. Measure room beams.
Sep/ 24 Thur Projection and tracing of “scrolls” for determining dimensions.
Sep/ 29 Tue Begin lettering
Oct / 1 Thur Continue lettering of scrolls.
Oct / 6 Tue Discuss book, and do outline.
Oct / 8 Thur Research assignments handed out to all students.
Oct / 13 Tue Group 1 in Huntington. Group 2 library research.
Oct/ 15 Thur Huntington, painting scroll back-ground.
Oct/ 20 Tue Huntington, painting scroll back-ground.
Oct / 22 Thur Huntington, painting scroll back-ground.
Oct / 27 Tue Huntington, painting borders
Oct / 29 Thur Huntington, painting borders
Nov / 5 Tue Huntington, painting borders
Nov/ 10 Thur Huntington, tracing letters.
Nov / 12 Tue Huntington, tracing letters, and tracing corps badges
Nov/ 17 Thur Huntington, tracing letters, and tracing corps badges
Nov/ 19 Tue Huntington, painting letters, and corps badges.
Dec/ 1 Tue Manchester, discuss research, and interim papers.
Dec/ 3 Thur Huntington, drawing corps badges and painting
Dec/ 8 Tue Huntington, painting corps badges.
Dec/ 10 Thur Huntington, painting corps badges.
Final Exams

Some FYC courses are repeated. This one will not be repeated, nor has it ever been offered before. Expect to add items to the syllabus as we proceed. A great deal will depend on what sorts of problems arise during the course, and how we choose to solve them. Note that you must purchase two texts: the FYC Notebook, and “A Writer’s Reference, 31 Edition,” by Diana Hacker. Both are available in the bookstore.


Restoration and Preservation of Wall and Ceiling Paintings

As an integral part of a course on restoration of lost paintings, students, faculty, and local artists of Huntington, Indiana, will research the history of the paintings in the GAR room of the Huntington County Courthouse, and during the Fall Term at Manchester College, will repaint those missing paintings. That summarizes the project, itself. In addition to providing the county with a restoration it could ill afford if it were necessary to hire an outside agency, this project will acquaint students with the controversial subject of such restoration in general, and will involve them in study of more grandiose projects in the Vatican, in Florence after the flood, and other major projects. Students will learn to work in groups, with fellow students, with faculty, and with local artists. They will acquire writing, research, and computing skills as part of this project, not as mere exercises. The work will benefit the community, the college, and of course, the students. It should make the value of a liberal arts education immediately apparent to students in their first year, and prepare them to take seriously the studies they will face during the rest of their college careers.

School: Manchester College
Professor: James R C Adams
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