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The origins of the legal protection of heritage. Legislation on the safeguard of monuments and artworks issued in 15th- to 18th-century Europe.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LawLove (The origins of the legal protection of heritage. Legislation on the safeguard of monuments and artworks issued in 15th- to 18th-century Europe.)

Berichtszeitraum: 2019-09-01 bis 2022-08-31

The project LawLove looked at the laws on the protection of artworks and monuments that were issued in the European countries between the early modern and the modern centuries (from early 15th to late 18th century). The overall objective was to develop a comparative analysis on this legislation within a legal, cultural, and art historical perspective, in order to understand the systems established in early-modern and modern Europe to administer, protect, supervise, maintain, restore, classify, and record what was thought of as “heritage” in different states.
Research was carried out on original records related to legislation as well as first-hand references, including archival documents and old manuscripts, making these sources accessible to the wide European community by translating them to English from their respective original languages (Latin, early-modern Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, and Portuguese).
LawLove established a new state-of-the-art in both legal history and art history, involving also fundamental outcomes for the interconnected disciplined of cultural history, history of restoration and conservation, comparative law, history of administration, history of art collections and museums. Thanks to several open-access publications, lectures, and conferences, as well as outreach activities, this project aimed to establish a history of legislation on the protection of the artifacts in Europe, spreading general awareness on the importance of respecting and protecting heritage. Furthermore, it supported basic questions related to European policy-making on the heritage preservation.
In this 3-year project, the fellow acquired new skills thanks to an intense training-through-research: expertise in interdisciplinary areas of study; transferable skills; new research methodologies and lecturing proficiency; competencies in project and financial management; communication skills. She refined her maturity and independence as academic, obtaining the Tenured Position of Lecturer and Researcher in the field of “Museology, Art Critique, and History of Restoration” towards the end of her fellowship.
The project was hosted at the University Ca' Foscari Venice, and lasted from September 2019 to June 2022.
The project was divided into 4 research phases: Analysis of primary literature, translation of the old laws to English; Analysis of specific research tracks, investigation of new individual events/aspects/periods; Analysis of archival documents, comparative analysis of data, focus on original findings; Analysis involved also analysis of visual sources and research trips in Europe.
The fellow completed the following training activities and seminars: 14 training courses; Language courses of German A1 and A2 (150 hours); University courses in Cultural History, International Law on the Heritage protection, History of Medieval and Modern Law (135 hours in total).
The fellow delivered the following conferences: “‘Mirroring the most enlightened States of Europe’. Artistic scholarship and the development of the heritage protection in the Age of Reason” – University of Edinburgh; “Rome, Athens, and Europe. Protecting and trading artefacts in late 18th- to early 19th century” – Hertziana Library in Rome; “Restoring antiquities in late 18th- to early 19th-century Rome. Instances in the Capitoline Museums” – Hertziana Library in Rome; “The Age of Reason and the tutelage of the arts. Emerging legislation on the heritage protection in 18th-century European States” – University of Zagreb; “Byzantine artefacts vs. classical antiquities in early Greek legislation on the heritage protection” – University Carlos III Madrid; "“Preserving heritage in early-modern Europe. Models and perspectives for an updated community legislation" - University Ca' Foscari Venice; “Protecting heritage by law. Concepts and procedures introduced in Northern and Southern Europe in the 1600s” – Norwegian Institute in Rome, the University of Oslo.
She also organised a LawLove conference: “Art-Law-Restoration. Europe and the early practices for the heritage protection”, University Ca’ Foscari Venice (8-9July 2021).
The fellow achieved the following publications: a monograph “Artistic canons and legal protection. Developing policies to preserve, administer and trade artworks in 19th-century Rome and Athens” - Max-Planck Institute, Frankfurt; a monograph "Art in early-modern Law. Evolving procedures for Heritage Protection in 15th to 18th-century Europe" – SideStone Press, Leiden; a conference proceedings "Arte, Legge, Restauro. L’Europa e le prime prassi per la protezione del patrimonio / Art, Law, Restoration. Europe and the early practices for the heritage protection" - Ca' Foscari Press, Venice; 5 further open-access articles and essays.
The fellow participated to the following dissemination events: European Researchers' Night 2021: "Prima Lezione di Storia dell'Arte", University Ca' Foscari Venice; “Young Professionals Forum 2021”: Restoration Centre La Venaria Reale, UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM, CNR, and the University of Turin. she was "Fellow of the week" in Decembre 2021.
At the end of the project, the following objectives have been achieved: the cultural and conceptual foundation of old legislation on the heritage protection has been understood; the early systems set up to administrate and supervise heritage have been uncovered; the early legal instruments conceived to protect heritage have been analysed; the corpus of this legislation has been translated into English from different early-modern languages.
LawLove also aimed to have an impact at a broader European level: it pursued an interpretation of historical and archival sources, in spite of the limitations imposed by Covid-19. The investigated documents are now accessible thanks to their English translations. Research results have been published and divulged via open-access books, articles and outreach initiatives, allowing both non-academic and academic audiences to access them. An innovative area of research in legal history and art history has been inaugurated too, intersecting interdisciplinary studies in the history of restoration and conservation, comparative law, history of economics, history of administration, and cultural history.
Further long-term effects on EU policy-making can be measured considering the future strategies that will be launched on the heritage protection and the broader awareness on the importance of respecting and protecting heritage in Europe.
Conference poster