18-20 March 2012, Brussels

Conserving the arts: the task of the curator and the conservator?

From 18-20 March 2012 the CODART VIJFTIEN congress will take place in Brussels. The congress, organized in cooperation with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels, will focus on the relationship between curators and conservators. On this page you can find the program, which includes among others, excursions to the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK/IRPA), the Royal Museums of Art and History (Cinquantenaire Museum), the Royal Library of Belgium and several churches and of course the Market of Ideas. The registration form can be found here and you can learn more about Brussels and the congress locations in the background information. A description, by the CODART Program committee, of this year’s congress theme can be found below.

Find the latest information for participants on the registration and accommodation page >>


Conserving the arts: the task of the curator and the conservator?

The term ‘conservator’ is ambiguous. In the Romance languages a conservateur is the equivalent of a ‘curator’ in English, but a conservator is the same as a restaurateur. The terminological confusion also reflects a lack of clarity in the responsibilities of the two fields and the delineation between them. Both individuals take ‘care’ of cultural artefacts and are responsible for the ‘conservation’ and ‘preservation’ of the physical integrity of objects by preventing deterioration. The cross-over of responsibilities sometimes leads to conflict: who decides on the conditions in which works of art are exhibited? Who determines the restoration priorities? Who has the final say in approving loan requests? Yet despite the occasional frictions among curators and conservators, technical research plays an increasingly significant role in the art-historical interpretation of works of art and has become standard practice in studying museum collections.

CODART VIJFTIEN will focus on the relationship between curators and conservators. To what extent does a curator need to be aware of technical aspects of work of art? What ‘curatorial’ aspects does a conservator need to take into account when restoring a work of art? How can both professions join forces in order to achieve the best result? Representing both fields, the speakers at this congress will examine the relationship between curators and conservators and make suggestions on how the two could benefit more from each other.



Royal Netherlands Embassy Brussels
Royal Netherlands Embassy Warsaw