One of the names that was suggested for
our yearbook was »Clavicula«, key, in reference to an
early medieval manuscript called »Mappae Clavicula«. It
was a compendium of recipes on the preparation of
paints, paint media, the artistic treatment of metals
and minerals, etc. In accordance ivith medieval alchemist
symbolism this manuscript was intended as a »key
to the secrets«, to a given knowledge and skills.
The symbolism expressed is valid even in our days, so
we can say that we would like this yearbook to be a key
. to forgotten or little known art techniques of the past,
not only for the expert but for painters, collectors and
all persons who have a deep interest in art. The
appreciation of art remains the poorer without a knowledge
of the techniques and materials out of which the artifacts
If we, in the end, decided on the name »Technologia artis«,
that is, the »technology of art«, it was with the realisation
that it is a brief term of one self-reliant scientific
branch of art history, whose beginnings can be traced
back to the very beginning of theory of art but achieved
exact methods only in this century with ths development
of the natural sciences, their analytical approach and
the resulting possibility of comparison. Ths more precise
term is »historical art technology«, for it is a science
that encompasses individual techniques of art, specific
(artistic) or assistant (non-artistic) in general, facilitating
mutual comparison and tracing its historical development.
It is concerned with the detailed analysis of individual
artifacts during which the restorer uses a number
of partial analyses of various fields of the natural sciences
and interprets them comprehensively on the basis of the
direct study in the course of restoration. lie confronts
his findings with period recipes or existing records and
compares this in ths period setting. The development oj
historical art technology depends on ths exactness of
partial analyses and interpretations and on the quantity
and publication of specific findings. Our image of technological
development supplies itself like a mosaic that gives
the more precise outlines as each stone is added. And
this is not possible without international co-operation.
We are publishing this yearbook in the conviction that
it mil contribute to filling in the mosaic and in the
hope that – with contributions from other countries –
it will become open to a broader European and world-wide
context. It is our aim to establish a platform for
a comprehensive approach, that is, the systematic
mapping of the development of individual techniques in
their historical transformations.
The »Mánes« centre of the community of Czech artists
was for many decades the headquarters of the organization
of artists, now known as the Union of Artists, and it
was also the centre of the Czech School of Restoration.
The building was erected on the site of the one-time Sitek's
mills, of which a high medieval water tower was conserved.
The construction was financed by the Mánes Association
of Artists, and it was designed by its chairman, architect
O. Novotný in the years 1928-29. (Photograph of the time,
1930 – courtesy National Technical Museum, archives)
For we realize that Man's relation to the world begins
with his relation to the material, and that the interdependence
between the two, so difficult to detect, is the bearer
of the primary significance of the art form.
Council of Archives (AHVT)
A seminar on »Artistic Aspects of Restoration«was
held in Prague on 6-7 June 1989.
It was devoted to problems and basic principles of the
Czech School of Restoration. This inter-disciplinary meeting
was organized by the Department of History of Art at the
Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, the Institute
for Art History of the ÈSAV and the Union of Czech Artists.
The following four contributions were selected from among
the papers presented at the seminar.