Margarida Tavares da Conceição . 100 de Património: Memória e Identidade. Portugal 1910-2010 de Jorge Custódio

Scientifically coordinated by Jorge Custódio and editorially coordinated by Miguel Soromenho and Maria Cortesão (and Manuela Moreira), the catalogue of the exhibition 100 Years of Heritage: Memory and Identity Portugal 1910-2010 is the most relevant and recent collective art work on the subject. The exhibition is included in the 100 years' celebration of the day Portugal was declared a Republic and was organised by Instituto Gestão do Património Arquitetónico e Arqueológico (an institution no longer in place and whose duties are now the responsibility of Direção Geral do Património Cultural). The exhibition was set in King D. Louis I Gallery, in Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, and was open from 30 September to 21 December 2010. Although the exhibition took place some years ago, the book/catalogue remains relevant.

 

This book includes a set of important studies by forty-three experts in the field of heritage and, thus, extremely useful to all those devoted to this area. The book is divided into five parts in chronological order: I – Fundamentos [The Basics](1721-1910), II – A República e a “Criação do Património” [The Republic and the “Creation of Heritage”] (1910-1932), III – Os Monumentos da Nação: Restaurar, Restaurar, Restaurar... [The Nation’s Monuments: Preserve, Preserve, Preserve...](1932-1964), IV – Depois da Carta de Veneza [After the Venice Charter](1964-1980), V –Sociedade, Cidadania e Modernização das Políticas do Património [Society, Citizenzhip and Modernizing Policies on Heritage] (1980-2010).

 

Moreover, the book is organised so that there are common themes in the five parts and "boxes with highlights" with relevant information have been included that allow for quick reading. Following each part, a list is given of the major themes and of the main figures in the field (a total of thirty-six biographies are listed). These short biographies include less known but active figures and allow for comparing the different profiles within the same context.  Both the themes and the biographies have the same layout.

 

Part 1, entitled “O longo tempo do Património. Os antecedentes da República (1721-1910)” (by Paulo Simões Rodrigues), focuses on heritage in the centuries before Portugal was declared a republic and includes a text on different perspectives regarding collections, museums, “Fundamentos: antiguidades, colecionismo e museus antes da Primeira República” (by João Carlos Brigola), a text on the consequences of religious orders having been banned (“’A recolta devia fazer-se estugadamente e por completo’. Patrimónios em trânsito: extinguir conventos e criar museus”, by José Alberto Seabra), one on archaeology (“As origens da arqueologia científica portuguesa no século XIX”, by Luís Raposo), one on associations and sociological issues (“Os ‘Amigos dos Monumentos’ e o elitismo patrimonial”, by Jorge Custódio) and one on the origins of national monuments “A génese dos monumentos nacionais” (by Lúcia Rosas). Noteworthy among the five boxes with highlights is the one on the Academy of Fine Arts and on the educational reform   “Academias de belas-artes ereformas do ensino em Portugal”.

 

Part 2, entitled “A obra patrimonial da Primeira República (1910-1932)”, by Jorge Custódio, focuses on the period called “The First Republic". This is probably the most ambitious text of the book, and allows us to identify the main misconceptions that Portuguese authorities on heritage have failed to solve. Besides issues regarding museums (“Museus da Primeira República: inovação e continuidade”, by Henrique Coutinho Gouveia), there are texts on the nationalization of the assets of the Crown (“A República e os Paços Reais”, by Maria de Jesus Monge), and on painting rehabilitation, “O restauro de pintura em Portugal no tempo de Luciano Freire” (by António João Cruz). Noteworthy is the highlight on Portugal and on the Athens Charter “Sociedade das Nações, Portugal e a Carta de Atenas (1931) ”, which includes less known data and adds to this book's relevance within the subject matter.

 

Part 3 focuses on the period called Estado Novo, during the dictatorship, which is a well-known and broadly researched time in Portuguese history. Nevertheless, this book gathers relevant information on this era: on monument preservation, “Restaurar os monumentos da Nação entre 1932 e 1964) ” (by Maria João Neto), a study on the influence of Estado Novo in architectural preservation, “Arquitetura: conservação e restauro no Estado Novo” (by Miguel Tomé), on preservation “Da oficina de restauro de Luciano Freire ao Instituto José de Figueiredo” (by Alexandra Curvelo), on museums “Museus no Estado Novo: continuidade ou mudança” (by Sérgio Lira) and an inventory of Portuguese art, “O inventário artístico de Portugal (1943-1995) – consonantes e dissonantes de um ‘dicionário da língua plástica portuguesa’” (by Luís Mata). Noteworthy is also the highlight on archaeology, “1926 a 1936: a instalação da ‘ordem nova’ e a arqueologia portuguesa”.

 

Part 4 includes only two texts, on issues crucial to the understanding of Contemporariness, especially focusing on the shift brought about by the Venice Charter: “Após Veneza: do restauro estilístico para o restauro crítico” (by José Aguiar) discusses important issues that allow for the understanding the scope and complexity of heritage and sheds light on less known institutions and local projects, whose importance in urban protection and preservation have been decisive. An example of this are the Gabinetes Técnicos Locais (local technical offices), which, until recently, were responsible for some of the best work in the field. The second text focuses on the Venice Charter, “O impacte da Carta de Veneza na conservação e restauro do património arquitetónico” (by José Manuel Fernandes). Noteworthy is the highlight on urban heritage, "Património urbano", not an easy theme to summarize.

 

Part 5 is devoted to the period between 1980 and 2010. This includes a more varied and less well-balanced set of texts. The first text is by Paulo Pereira, “Sob o signo de Sísifo. Políticas do património edificado em Portugal, 1980-2010”, and includes a table comparing institutions and their responsibilities, thus organizing data which is difficult to memorize. This section also includes matters related to the so-called "social challenges" in terms of their relation with cultural heritage. “Associativismo e defesa do património (1980-2010)” (by João Carlos Caninas), “Campanha Nacional para a Defesa do Património: hora de mudança” (by Jorge Custódio and Rui Rasquilho), “O património de Portugal na Lista da UNESCO” (by Ana Paula Amendoeira), “Os museus portugueses perante a sociomuseologia” (by Mário Moutinho), “Património inclusivo. Das expectativas aos desafios” (by Deolinda Folgado), “Património como valor humano” (by Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins). This the section of the book that contains a higher number of highlights due to the wide range of themes discussed. Among these, I would like to mention that on the inventory of Portuguese immovable heritage, “O inventário do património Imóvel em Portugal”.

 

This thick volume also encompasses a historical timeline, “Cronologia histórica” a very useful list of relevant conferences and international regulations on cultural heritage, “Cronologia de congressos e organizações de relevância e das cartas, recomendações e normas internacionais para a salvaguarda, conservação e valorização do património cultural”. The book includes bibliography and exhibition credits. The book evidences weaknesses in terms of how the different themes are focused, as not all are given an in-depth analysis. Furthermore, finding a specific information is sometimes hard because the cross-sectional structure of the book, though stimulating, allows for not a very clear table of contents (which, in addition, does not include the names of the author(s) of each text). Nevertheless, this is, without a doubt, both in technical and in scientific terms, a relevant contribution to the field of Cultural Heritage.

 

 

 

CUSTÓDIO, Jorge (coord. científico). 100 Anos de Património: Memória e Identidade. Portugal 1910-2010. Lisboa: Instituto de Gestão do Património Arquitectónico e Arqueológico I.P., 2010; 416 pp., 23 cm. ISBN 978-989-8052-20-9.