The concept of care is central to art history, but it is only rarely discussed. This is a surprising disjunction: many of the objects that form the history of art have survived only because care has been invested in them. Yet we know little of what that care encompassed and the reasons why it was given; of who cared for objects; and of how they did so. In seeking answers to these questions, we shift focus away from restoration and treatment towards a broader set of material and immaterial practices, all aimed at securing and maintaining the well-being of objects – in a word, care. Though these practices are as varied as physical or symbolic protection; rites of consecration, inauguration, and restitution; or what is now called preventive conservation, risk management, environment control, or boundary maintenance, they all have a common concern, namely the art object, and they all have consequences, whether material or political. The group’s research is directed at understanding not only how care was and is practiced, but also how it has formed – and continues to inform – our knowledge of and access to art.
Progetti in corso
Julia Vázquez, Ph.D.: Marco, Cornice, Cadre: Episodes in the History of European Frame Design (1748-1937)