European project


Cesare Brandi (1906-1988)

His thought and

the European debate

in the 20th century


Progetto Europeo


Cesare Brandi (1906-1988)

Il suo pensiero e

il dibattito in Europa

nel XX secolo




Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Dipartimento per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici


Associazione Amici di Cesare Brandi

Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo


Academy of Fine Arts Warsaw - Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

Hochschule fur angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst Hildeshiem/Holzminden/Gottingen

Institut Nationale du Patrimoine

Universidad Politecnica de Valencia - Departamento de Conservaciòn y Restauraciòn de Bienes Culturales

Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa - Faculdade de Arquitectura

Universitè Libre de Bruxelles, Facultè de Philosophie et Lettres, Section d'Histoire de l'Art 



Illustrative report



Context of the initiative

Cesare Brandi was born on the 8th of April 1906 in Siena: 2006 will be the first centenary year of his birth. On this occasion the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali (Italian Ministry for the Cultural Heritage) thanks to the Istituto Centrale del Restauro, which Brandi founded and directed for more than twenty years, obtained the creation of a National Committee responsible for celebrations and cultural events in Italy, whose members are the most eminent scholars and institutions that deal with Brandi’s thought and work.

There is a long list of scheduled activities, among them we quote the International Conference about Brandi today, which aims at getting an overview of Brandi’s multifarious activity and its modernity (paying particular attention to the aspects of the aesthetic search, the restoration theory and procedure, the history of art teaching methodology and didactics, the literary production, the essay writing in the shape of travel journals reporting the discovery of the most relevant artistic civilizations in the world); the annotated version of his seminal work Theory of Restoration; the re-edition of the four philosophical Dialogues dedicated to painting, sculpture, architecture and poetry which make up the series titled Elicona; the translation into other languages of his main works and in particular of the seminal work Theory of Restoration, which up to now has been translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Rumanian, Bohemian, Greek, English, Japanese (the translation into German, Polish and Chinese is in progress).



Aims of the project

- deepen and spread Brandi’s familiarity outside Italy, highlighting the complexity and the eclectic quality of the different roles he played simultaneously as art historian, founder of the ICR, father of the modern restoration theory and procedure, uncompromising defender of the safeguard of the Cultural Heritage, which was his life lasting commitment.

- help the comparison of different approaches and interpretations of Brandi’s thought in consideration of the most pressing problems of conservation and restoration that today exhaust our society. These problems do not have easy and common solutions, but the complexity of Brandi’s theory and its practical experimentations can help in such a difficult situation: they give practical answers to the challenges of phenomena that are becoming more and more specific and differentiated (an example is the fact that more than fifty years ago Brandi was the first person who understood and theorized the importance of prevention for the safety of the Cultural Heritage).

- continue the “monitoring” activity of what concerns the modernity and the application of Brandi’s thought in different countries and cultures, paying particular attention to the field of conservation and restoration. The activity begun in 1998 during some exchanges of views (specialized discussions or events opened to the public opinion) in occasion of the dramatic problems caused by the earthquake of 26th September 1997, which destroyed a considerable part of Giotto’s and Cimabue’s frescos in the Basilica Superiore di San Francesco (Upper Basilica of St. Francis) in Assisi; and for the first time was seriously taken into consideration in occasion of the European Cultural Affairs Committee informal meeting that took place on 28th-30th November 2003 in Assisi (Brandi outside Italy. The reception of Brandi’s Theory of Restoration abroad: some examples; with the contributions of the representatives of Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, France, Netherlands, USA and Japan).




-          Eight National Conferences (Munchen, Hildesheim, Valencia, Lisbon, London, Warzaw, Bruxelles, Paris) about how Brandi’s restoration theory and procedure may solve peculiar problems pointed out by each country involved in the project, according to a scientific and organizational structure that will be discussed and determined by the Steering Committee of the project.

-          A “touring” exhibition across the different countries participating in the project to portray Brandi’s personality: his life, his lesson, his theory, his writings, some examples of the many relevant interventions he directed while he was responsible for the Istituto Centrale del Restauro (1939-1960). Supported by the daily crosscheck with the practical application he formulated his theory of restoration: on the frescos of the Cappella Ovetari (Ovetari Chapel) by Andrea Mantegna in Padua, which were destroyed during the war, on Duccio Buoninsegna’s Maestà in the museum of the Siena Dome, on Giotto’s frescos in the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi.

-          A “Brandi’s dictionary” in the different Partners languages, to deepen the most important and complex terms/concepts of his thought.



The project will last from the 1st November 2006 to the 31th October 2007.

The Steering Committee will meet in December 2006 and June 2007.



Results to be achieved in the long-run

Methodological instruments approved by all partners will be defined. They will be able to satisfy the most urgent and differentiated needs of Conservation and Restoration of the Cultural Heritage because they have their roots in the most specific European cultural tradition, that is to say the one that attaches to each single element of the Heritage an invaluable importance that must be sheltered in the best way in order to hand it down to future generations as undamaged as possible.



The European relevance

Brandi’s culture, which was incredibly broad and sophisticated (from the figurative arts to poetry, music, dance, theatre and cinema, both Italian and foreign), took inspiration from the most illustrious tradition of the European culture, starting from the Greek philosophy and the Kantian revolution up to the most original expressions of the contemporary thought of his time in the field of aesthetics, hermeneutics, linguistics, structuralism, psychology and art perception: Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Arnheim, Jacobson, Levy Strauss, Barthes, Gadamer, are just some examples. His theory of restoration is his culture’s clearest and best result, and it must be regarded as an irreplaceable way of confirming our common European identity when we commit to the Preservation of our common past.




Recipients of the project will be all those who are directly or indirectly involved in the activity of Preservation, Conservation and Restoration of the Cultural Heritage:

-   students and scholars of history of art and restoration

-   restorers

-   educators in institutes and schools of history of art and restoration

-   museum managers

-   people responsible for policies of Preservation and Conservation

-   journalists specialized in events concerning Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage

-   people interested in Art, Conservation and Restoration





I SESSION – Muenchen

(26 April 2007, 10.00-16.30)

Cesare Brandis "Teoria del restauro" und die Restaurierung in Deutschland heute.


Lehrstuhl für Restaurierung, Kunsttechnologie und Konservierungswissenschaft der TU München, Seminarraum des Lehrstuhls, Oettingenstraße 15, 80538 München.


Ursula Schädler-Saub

Paolo D’Angelo

Francesca Capanna

Dörthe Jakobs

Erwin Emmerling

Kathrin Janis



Moderation der Diskussion: Matthias Exner




II SESSION – Hildesheim

(7 May 2007, 10.00-17.00)

Cesare Brandis „Teoria del restauro“ und die Restaurierung in Deutschland heute.


Fachbereich Konservierung und Restaurierung der HAWK Hildesheim / Holzminden / Göttingen, Hornemann Instituts, voraussichtlich Seminarraum Bismarckplatz 19/11, 31135 Hildesheim.


Ursula Schädler-Saub

Dörthe Jakobs

Ivo Hammer

Thomas Danzl

Wanja Wedekinde

Francesca Valentini



Moderation der Diskussion: Angela Weyer




III SESSION – Valencia

(7 May 2007, 9.30-21.30)

Cesare Brandi, repercusión de su Teoría en la realidad española


Paraninfo de la Universidad politécnica de Valencia

D. Manuel Muñoz Ibañez

Pilar Roig Picazo

Gianluigi Colalucci

Ignacio Bosch Reig

José A. Madrid García

Vicente Guerola Blay

Salvador Muñoz Viñas

Pablo González Tornel

Vittorio Brandi Rubiu

Massimo Carboni

Debate. Moderatores: Pilar Roig Picazo, Salvador Garcia Fortes, Victor Medina Florez





(28 May 2007, 9.30-18.30)

Brandi e o Conceito de Espaço. Teoria e Praxis no Restauro Arquitectónico


Faculdade de arquitectura da universidade técnica de lisboa, espaço “o cubo”, Rua Sá Nogueira - Pólo Universitário - Alto da Ajuda - 1349-055 Lisboa


Paolo Fancelli

José Aguiar

Delgado Rodrigues

Helena Charola

Ana Isabel Seruya

Paulo Pereira

Joaquim Caetano

Nuno Proença

João Santos

Nuno Lopes e Raimundo Mendes Da Silva

Aurora Carapinha




V SESSION – London

(10 July 2007)

Cesare Brandi and the conservation of our Cultural Heritage


With the collaboration of The Hamilton Kerr Institute (University of Cambrige), Courtauld Institute.

Courtauld Institute, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre


Giuseppe Basile

Licia Borrelli-Vlad

Ian McClure

Jonathan Ashley-Smith

Phoebe Dent Weil

Dorothy Bell





(5 October 2007, 9.00-19.00)

Cesare Brandi: his thought and the heritage debate.

Art of conservation - restoration in Poland


Inter-Academy Institute of Conservation-Restoration of Works of Art: Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw - faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art, Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow - faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art, Nicolas Copernicus University in Torun - Institute for the Study, Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage. useum Palace at Wilanow.


Giuseppe Basile

Wojciech Kurpik

Dusan C. Stulik

Wladyslaw Zalewski

Janusz Krawczyk

Andrzej Tomaszewski

Iwona Szmelter

Bogumila Rouba

Monika Jadzinska




VII SESSION – Bruxelles

(25 October 2007)

Cesare Brandi. Evolution de sa pensée dans la pratique de la restauration


Université Libre de Bruxelles


Giuseppe Basile

Dominique Driesmans

Francoise Rosier

Chateline Perier D'Ieteren

Hélène Dubois

Van Grevenstein





(26 October 2007, 9.30-18.-00)

Cesare Brandi et la France


Institut national du patrimoine – Auditorium Colbert

2 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris


Geneviève Gallot

Giuseppe Basile

Après-midi sous la direction de Jean-Pierre Mohen:

Ségolène Bergeon-Langle

Nathalie Volle

Georges Brunel

Christine Mouterde

Matinée sous la présidence de Christiane Naffah:

Elisabeth Mognetti

Jacques Hourrière


Table ronde animée par Michel Laclotte.

Anthony Pontabry, Monique Pomey, Isabelle Pallot-Frossart, Patricia Vergez





Institut National du Patrimoine -Paris


Università Politecnica di Valencia - Departamento de Conservaciòn y Restauraciòn de Bienes Culturales



Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa - Faculdade de Arquitectura


pagina con Brandi




Universitè Libre de Bruxelles, Facultè de Philosophie et Lettres, Section d'Histoire de l'Art

Pagina con Brandi




Academy of fine arts Warsaw



Hochschule fur angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst Hildeshiem/Holzminden/Gottingen