For debate in the Standing Committee — see Rule 15 of the Rules of Procedure
17 July 2003
The promotion of art history in Europe
Committee on Culture, Science and Education
Rapporteur: Mr O’Hara, United Kingdom, Socialist Group
Link to the Addendum 1
Link to the Addendum 2
The report explores the significance in Europe of the visual arts. On the one hand they are an expression of creative diversity and personal enrichment; on the other they have been used as a political instrument for the propagation of division and hostility.
Drawing on a colloquy held in Venice in November 2002, the report calls for the promotion of art history in educational, academic and cognate fields such as conservation, tourism and the art trade.
The rapporteur sees art history as a basic tool for the achievement of one of the most cherished purposes of the Council of Europe - understanding and tolerance between cultures.
I. Draft recommendation
1. The visual arts constitute a cornerstone of European culture stretching from the prehistoric to the contemporary, enriched in recent times by the moving image and the new technologies
2. This heritage has been the object of constant intellectual and political debate. It has been a source of delight for many and an incentive to creativity. It is closely bound up with notions of identity on different levels. It is an important testament to the diversity of European culture. It is also an area of significant economic activity (commissioning of works of art, the art trade, tourism).
3. Appreciation of artistic diversity can lead to greater European understanding. Art can also be used as propaganda and can be a source of division and intolerance. Iconoclasm unfortunately still has a modern parallel in the targeting of political and religious monuments today.
4. The artistic heritage is also increasingly exposed to the negative effects of globalisation (over-simplification and concentration), to commercial exploitation or to destruction from neglect or for alternative development.
5. These forces must be contained. But unfortunately those employed in the protection, conservation and study of the heritage are in general inadequate for the task, being too few in number, often poorly paid and unequally trained. While the situation varies greatly throughout Europe and is currently of especial concern in the countries in transition, there is in general insufficient recognition of the need for better career structures for those involved.
6. The Assembly believes that it is important for member states to pay attention not only to the conservation of the artistic and architectural heritage and the skills needed to conserve it, but also to the promotion of understanding of this heritage on the level of the public, the professions concerned and the political authorities.
7. The Assembly welcomes the contribution already made by the Council of Europe to promotion of awareness of the cultural heritage, notably through the Council of Europe Art Exhibitions, the European Heritage Classes and Heritage Days, the European museum awards and the European cultural itineraries and recommends that the Committee of Ministers continue to support these activities.
8. It also recommends that the Committee of Ministers promote art history in Europe by asking member states to take measures to
In academic institutions
i. support study and research in art history by ensuring that there are sufficient practitioners employed in museums and universities;
ii. encourage international contacts between art historians, especially for those in countries in transition;
iii. develop codes of good conduct for the employment of the service of academics in the identification and attribution of art objects;
and in a wider perspective
iv. give consideration to the management of the career structure of art historians both within academic institutions and in art history related employment.;
v. promote interdisciplinary co-operation with other academic disciplines and links between art history and vocational higher education in the arts and design;
vi. encourage and support conferences and meetings for the wide range of practitioners in art history both within and between member states;
vii. sponsor and support art exhibitions both large and small, and co-operate in the loan and exchange of exhibitions and items for inclusion in exhibitions in each other’s museums and galleries;
viii. promote open debate on art and art historical subjects;
ix. encourage good practice in involving art historians and public in dialogue on their collections (permanent and temporary);
x. encourage museums and galleries of modern and contemporary art to link their collections with the wider historical perspective;
In the field of conservation
xi. encourage and promote co-operation between art historians and those responsible for the education of conservators to ensure the best standards of conservation and environmental control of monuments and sites;
xii. consider the development of European standards for conservation training and conservation work;
xiii. encourage their tourist industries to associate art historians in the preparation of itineraries and enable foreign, trained professional guides to accompany tourist groups;
xiv. encourage the development of cultural itineraries that illustrate art historical themes;
xv. encourage the development of alternatives to the most well-known sites and collections so as to relieve the pressure on these sites and broaden public appreciation and the economic benefits of tourism;
In the art trade
xvi. encourage academically and professionally recognised diplomas for those employed in art auctions, art evaluation for insurance, and the art trade in general as well as those concerned with policing the illegal movement of art;
xvii. ensure that the basic curriculum includes an introduction to the history of art and looking at art as well as to artistic expression;
xviii. promote in schools the study not only of indigenous art but also of the art of the regions of Europe and world art in a European context;
xix. encourage and develop educational visits to museums and galleries and to monuments and sites;
In the media
xx. support and co-operate in the digitisation of visual materials for access in archives and on the Internet, while avoiding excessive commercialisation of this access;
xxi. collect examples of good practice in the presentation of art history in the media;
xxii. promote the enjoyment and understanding of art by the general public in specific ways, including increasing access to monuments, sites and art collections.
II. Explanatory memorandum
by Mr O’Hara
1. This report has its origins in a motion for a resolution tabled in October 2000 (Doc 8857). This motion highlighted the enormous value in the vast and rich diversity of the visual heritage of Europe in informing public experience and in promoting greater European understanding. At the same time it pointed out the inherent perils to be connected with the use of art as propaganda to support division and intolerance. It referred to the great advances made across Europe in public awareness of the cultural heritage through the “Europe, a common heritage” campaign and to the importance of capitalising on this interest by increased educational action.
2. This requires a consideration of the ways in which this rich and varied cultural heritage feeds into the education, experience and discourse of everyday life. This in turn requires a clarification of how people learn about art and about how visual culture operates within the modern state. These are different questions from those basic ones about the production of art and the training of artists, as they involve an understanding of the viewing and interpretation of art – in short about the power of visual images.
3. The preliminary agenda for discussion was that member states should:
i. ensure that university courses in the history of art and related disciplines are introduced or maintained at regional level
ii. assure an introduction to the history of art at some stage in the basic core school curriculum
iii. encourage the tourist industry to associate art historians in the preparation of itineraries and to enable foreign, trained professional guides to accompany tourist groups in liaison with local guides.
4. It was also recognised that the media, conservation non-governmental organisations and the tourist industry are implicated in these activities and should be involved in their implementation.
5. The present report now sets out to clarify and further explore these three main guidelines and to make recommendations for further action. The issues involved were discussed at a colloquium held in Venice on 21-22 November 2002 and attended both by members of the committee and by experts involved variously in the history of art in Europe. The report brings together the key information, ideas and proposals presented at this colloquium. A full record of the colloquium appears in the addendum to the present document.
6. The rapporteur places on record his gratitude to the participants in the Venice colloquium for the information and insights which they provided. He expresses particular appreciation and thanks to Professor Robin Cormack, Deputy Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, for his invaluable assistance in the production of the report.
What is art history?
7. Art history as a subject for public enthusiasm and as an academic discipline has never been so conspicuous or so successful as now. Books, magazines, periodicals and newspapers on the subject enjoy an increasing market. Art exhibitions and television presentations can expect mass audiences. There is certainly no reason to be pessimistic about the future of art history, especially in a world of life-long education. Yet like all intellectual enterprises art history is sensitive to changing attitudes and to political situations.
8. The treatment of art history in the former Soviet Union is a good example. Only three universities (Moscow, Leningrad (now St Petersburg) and Tbilisi) were allowed to have departments and chairs of art history. Yerevan University did not get its department (and Unesco chair) until 1996. Art history was tightly controlled. The teaching of medieval religious art was treated as religious propaganda whereas the official communist ideology favoured atheistic propaganda. On the other hand modern art such as abstractionism was out of favour because it was considered bourgeois and so liable to become a vehicle for bourgeois propaganda and dissidence.
9. A similar situation existed under communism in the East European countries. Professor Milena Bartlova, a Czech art historian at the Venice colloquium told of how when, she was studying, art history was not allowed to be called art history. She recalled hearing a high ranking communist say “We do not need any art historians. We just need those who will tell our painters what to paint and nothing else”.
10. For of course the communists had positive purposes for art: to express and support the doctrine of socialist realism. One consequence is, for example, that the art of Soviet poster makers is a subject for serious study. Another consequence is a generation gap. Professor Bartlova referred to a great shortage of middle-aged art historians in the Czech Republic, This can be generalised throughout the former Soviet bloc. In particular of course there is a shortage of experts and research in religious art.
11. Of course the communists did not have a monopoly of the exploitation of art for propaganda purposes. Hitler used art to promote his theories of racial purity and the master race. This can present a dilemma for art historians and for curators and organisers of exhibitions in particular. If Nazism was morally bad, did it follow that the artists who served it produced bad art? Did Leni Riefenstahl make bad films?
12. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew all about the use of art for propaganda purposes. Trajan’s column is pure propaganda. The best of the Golden Age of Latin literature was produced under the patronage of the emperor Augustus; but few would call Virgil a bad poet, and certainly not the Aeneid a bad poetic work.
13. Then there is the Parthenon, generally recognised as the high point of Classical art, awarded the status of a Unesco World Heritage Site. But Callicrates, Ictinus and Pheidias were serving the political purposes of Pericles. There are those who would draw comparisons between the politics and monuments of 5th century Athens and those of the 3rd Reich or of the Soviet Union. If so they need to be careful, just as one has to be careful in comparing the democratic institutions of Periclean Athens with the democracies of modern nation states. It is rarely other than facile to judge the politics and culture of one age by the standards of another.
14. The Parthenon and its sculptures illustrate also how cultural heritage can be appropriated by foreign countries. To the Greeks the Parthenon Sculptures in the Elgin Marbles collection in the British Museum are icons of Hellenism and they demand their return to Greece. Many British people agree with them. But there is a constituency of opinion which says that, having been in the British Museum for almost two centuries, they have by now become part of the British heritage, specifically associated with 19th century classicism.
15. Even more interestingly it can be seen that, whatever the Parthenon and its sculptures meant to the Athenians of the 5th century BC, they have acquired connotations of 19th century nationalism for both the Greeks and the British. Thus they can be understood and appreciated at a number of different levels and in different dimensions, giving different explanations of just how and why they are great, not just important, art objects.
16. Cultural objects can have more than iconic significance. They can be identifying symbols of national identity. That is why mosques were destroyed in Bosnia. That is why the bridge at Mostar was destroyed. As Henry Thomas of the United World College at Duino pointed out at the Venice colloquium, “It had no strategic value. But it was created by Suleyman’s great architect Sinan. To remove it was to remove an identity. Eliminate the culture, eliminate the artifacts; dislocate them and you dislocate the people for whom these things have significant meaning”.
17. The monuments, museums and collections of European countries offer the viewer an enormous range of objects and decorative objects produced from pre-historic times up to the present day. As a reflection of Europe’s history these materials include not only art produced in Europe itself by European artists, but also artifacts from all over the world. It is also the case that collections and sites outside Europe have acquired examples of European art. Thus the visual thinking of Europe has had a major influence on world art, just as non-European art has over the centuries had all sorts of determining effects on the art of Europe. In art historical parlance, within the whole production of World Art (or Global Art) the cultural phenomenon of “Western Art” has been crucial in influencing the ways in which human experience is translated into visual forms.
18. Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), author of “Le vite de’ piu eccelenti pittori, scultori e architectori” (1550) is properly seen as the founding father of modern art history. He is responsible for the development of the best-known form of art history – the monograph on the individual artist and the identification of artistic achievement and personality through the visual analysis of his/her work set into an historical context. It is still an immediately recognisable strategy in Ernst Gombrich’s “The Story of Art” (1959). Gombrich pronounced: “There is no such thing as art; only artists”.
19. The narratives of Vasari have also had the consequence that the Italian Renaissance and its study became established as the normative period of art history. This emphasis on the Renaissance, and through it on Classicism, directed both art history and public taste at least up to the 1970s, despite a century of “Modern Art” which had caused a split in the critical viewing of art between those who favoured Renaissance aesthetics and style and those who thought it could be replaced by a different way of representation involving the abstraction of nature and narratives.
20. In other words, the study of art history remained for a considerable time the study and appreciation of the “Masters of Western Art”. The inclusion of Classical art into the canon by Winckelmann (1717-68) was a significant intellectual decision. The debates about dating and attribution of works of art in the canon were put on a “scientific” basis by Giovanni Morelli (1816-91). This was another important turning point in the discourses of art history.
21. In the 1970s a decline in the perception of the central role of the Renaissance coincided, perhaps by chance, with a number of “new ways of looking” at art. As well as questioning the canon of art history study, new perceptions came more strongly to the forefront of discourse. These included the acknowledgement that Picasso was a significant innovator, and that “Abstract Art” was a mature form of picture making. This acknowledgement, particularly strong in the USA, pointed to a decline in European hegemony and was symbolic of a new impetus in art history.
22. This coincided with the intellectual movement of structuralism and the “Death of the Author”, which put more attention onto social processes in the emergence of artistic ideas. It also coincided with the “feminists” questions of the role of women in the history of art: Were there no great women artists? If true, why not? If false, why had this falsehood been perpetrated?
23. These developments in the conceptual framework of art historians are generally known as “The New Art History”, although there was not one simple new programme or methodology put forward by its various practitioners. It had been preceded by changes in other disciplines, such as “The New Archaeology”. However whereas in that field the developments were primarily in the application of new scientific models and techniques, the source of new ideas in “The New Art History” was predominantly literary theory, including semiotics, and anthropology. Works of art were seen as visual texts and so might be read according to the diverse methods which were being developed for the understanding of oral and verbal texts.
24. New Art History has been, however, simply one strand of development among art historians, and far from universally adopted. In Italy, for example, the study of the art history of the Renaissance, predominantly in the Vasarian perspective, has retained its strength and attractions. This has inhibited the growth of wider “pan-European” perspectives, or even the study of the Middle Ages and other periods. This is despite the success of the Italian semiologist Umberto Eco in the promotion of the middle ages in his best selling book “The Name of the Rose” (1980).
25. In France the emphasis has been on art history as primarily a knowledge-based subject. The recently established Art History Institute in Paris is part of this thinking. It was the basis of the papers presented by both of the French experts in Venice.
26. Some countries have emphasised their national heritage as part of general education. Others have “neglected” their own past in favour of wider trends and other histories.
27. Art history remains in a perpetual state of re-assessment of its aims, but a common thread is the critical review of all these theoretical models and a re-emphasis on the importance of the art object as the focus of study. In this more empirical frame of mind the development of the Internet and the ambition to digitise vast numbers of images and make the universally available “on line” is perhaps a revolution almost as significant as the invention of photography was in providing new tools for the discipline. Professor Chookaszian, Unesco Professor of art history at Yerevan university told at the Venice colloquium of the digital tools available to the modern art historian, including e-mail, CD-Rom, archives and databases on the Internet etc, and the e-skills which give access to them. Most importantly, e-communication vastly facilitates access of art historians to each other for the exchange of information and ideas.
28. In this “return to the object” the agenda of art history is being set predominantly by the presentation of special exhibitions in museums and galleries, accompanied by scholarly catalogues. These form a key focus of attention and discussion, as the actual exhibition on its completion becomes the “virtual” exhibition encapsulated in the printed catalogue and its reviews.
29. Since such exhibitions are international in their venues and in their sources of loans, some are contextualised within developing ideas of world art rather than in the old framework of western art, although a glance at the Art Newspaper’s monthly list of exhibitions shows an enormous amount of diversity as well as energy in the range, organisation and staging of shows. An emphasis on the work of the individual artist or of groups of artists (rivals or competitors) also emerges as a strong and successful current theme.
30. If that is the agenda of art history, the next question is who “decides” it. The extremes are a small number of professional academic art historians in universities on the one side and the exhibition-going public on the other. It should be noted that despite the major impact art history makes on European life and activities this is a small profession, and that the majority in the field are concerned with modern art, that is art before it has not yet acquired a history. Statistics of curators, teachers and students overtly described as art historians show that throughout Europe there are few practitioners, and substantially less than traditional historians or than practitioners in other new subjects such as tourism, media studies and business studies.
31. On a broader frame, these numbers are substantially increased if we include in the field the whole infrastructure of museums and art galleries, restoration, arts administration, journalism and writing, and civic promotion of art historical activities. This community is however not well integrated. It might be said, for example, that it has no common body of knowledge, no common meaningful debate, and no interest at present in developing a common meaningful debate.
32. The outcome may be diversity and enthusiasm in general; but if offers no clear discourse to the interested public and non-specialist. Thus the visitor to Venice who confronts the Tempesta in the Accademia is helped by no common voice in his/her viewing. Its attribution to Giorgione may be canvassed or denied. The question of attribution may spurned entirely. The notion even that the artist “Giorgione” (Giorgio da’ Castelfranco) had existed might be opposed. As for its “meaning”, some will go no further than the 16th century source which describes it as “landscape with a storm, a soldier and a gypsy”, while others develop far reaching interpretations, some taking into account the technical information derived from an x-ray of the small canvas in which it is seen that in the first version, to be changed in the final painting, a second woman in the nude and not a soldier was drawn.
33. In this case the viewer may feel excluded from the open and clear discussion of art historical methods. In a different case the viewer may be expected to be visually highly literate. For example the cover of an edition in 1998 of the British periodical the Economist expected the viewer to understand that the saving Boris Yeltsin’s Russia by the International Monetary Fund and its dollars was akin to the miraculous intervention of angels in an historical Russian icon, so interrelated were the both the ancient and the modern representation and symbolism.
Issues in the promotion of art history
34. At the beginner’s level, which may be at school or during “life-long education”, the question should be explored whether art history should be treated as a subject in its own right. This opens up for the student the traditional questions of art history and how its production can be linked with patrons, artists and material factors. The development of a precise knowledge of art and architecture offers a valuable training in visual awareness and visual literacy. At the same time there are questions about whether this empirical knowledge should be connected with broader historical studies or even with fine art training and personal practice.
35. Considerable thought is needed about the curriculum and its aims and how it relates to age and experience. There is also the question of how far art historical knowledge is a formative factor in European and indeed international citizenship. The visual arts can be far more influential as primary evidence than other survivals from the past. The study of iconoclasm and the destruction and banning of images, both religious and political, can be a powerful historical lesson about tolerance and revolution in societies.
36. In schools considerable attention has been given to looking at art. This has been supported by organised visits to museums and galleries with education aims matched to the age of the students. In response the display and labelling of exhibits may be designed to fit in with these visits. Museum and gallery education officers may have considerable experience and skill in stimulating interest. The choices made for display may have a fundamental influence on the children when they reach adulthood.
37. At the Venice colloquium a full account was given by Henry Thomas of the United World College at Duino, of the rationale and content of a structured course for the International Baccalaureate. This course on world art was intended to act as a training in the history of art for students aged between 16 and 18 years. Aspects of art and architecture were chosen to illuminate different periods, cultures, religions, styles, media and forms, some of which could be seen at first hand, others through books or the Internet. This was an example of how a structured and disciplined training could be developed at an advanced school level.
38. What Henry Thomas demonstrated was the interpenetration, fusion and diffusion of art between cultures. A simple example is the Greek Kouros, derived from earlier monumental sculpture in Egypt. Professor Chookaszian referred to the Roman influence on architecture in Armenia and the Armenian cultural presence in Venice. Professor Maria Vassilaki, curator of the Benaki Museum in Athens, referred particularly to the interpenetration of Byzantine and Western art, with Italian painters adopting the Byzantine tradition and Byzantine artists migrating to Italy. The most outstanding example of this process was Domenico Theotokopoulos, from the environs of her own native town of Chania, whose artistic odyssey took him from Crete via Venice and Rome to Spain, where he made his name as el Greco.
39. At university level art history is established in many countries as a subject in its own right. It is generally taught as a subject too large to be covered in its entirety and so is broken down into specialisms. These may may be periods or regions or media. These specialisms may be linked to regional or national interests or may be more international in scope. Key questions are: What are the implications of these decisions, including the questions of the relation of art history courses to other disciplines, such as history or language studies? What is the outcome in career terms for the graduate in the history of art? How does art history as taught relate to the market and auction rooms? These questions deserve a European rather than a parochial or national debate.
40. At the level of public interest and tourism the methods of communication of the history of art are very diverse, covering the media, such as magazines, newspapers radio and television, and the whole organisation of guides and lecturing. These raise many issues, including the training and licensing of guides, the development of internationally recognised standards or codes of practice and the relation of their discourse to national and international cultures. There are few opportunities for art historians and guides, either to communicate with each other or to co-operate in the discussion of art in front of the objects themselves for the benefit of their audience.
41. Martin Bailey of the Art Newspaper addressed the Venice colloquy on the role and functioning of the art media arousing interest and informing the specialist and general publics about issues in art. In essence all publicity is good publicity. Notably, the interest and horror of the mass public of the world was excited by mass media coverage of the destruction by the Taliban of the Buddhas at Bamiyan. The art media also alert the public to issues in art which would otherwise pass them by, such as the availability and quality of museums, galleries and the exhibitions they mount, whether they are well operated, whether they are properly funded. This may motivate them to take an interest, go along, and lobby for improvements. Other issues are the illegal trade in antiquities, about which it can only be beneficial for there to be as much public awareness as possible, or the outbidding of local and national museums by wealthy collectors from abroad, such as the Getty Museum in California. The art media play an important role in promoting the fundraising which may prevent their being sold abroad. All these outcomes from the art media in the wider sense contribute to the education of the public in art and its history.
42. The conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture has been addressed by the Council of Europe and other organisations, both public and private, on other occasions. The Venice colloquium had a special session, not only to observe the activities of the Venice European Centre for the Trades and Professions of the Conservation of the Architectural Heritage (established in 1977), but also to discuss the specific issues of principles, standards and training in conservation and restoration. These involve possible differences of goals between art historians, conservators, owners and the public about the level of restoration which should be applied to any object or building.
43. At the Venice colloquium Carlo Cesari of the Venice European Centre for the Skills of Cultural Heritage Conservation explained how standards for conservation and restoration vary from country to country in Europe. In Germany, Switzerland and Austria it is well organised and state exams exist up to master craftsman level. In Italy certificates are available but they not carry the same weight as German qualifications and experience and aptitude on the job is more important. In Spain and other countries the experience on the job is even more important. There is a need for more standardisation of technical quality this field.
44. There are two main issues with regard to restoration. The first is the quality of restoration, which relates to standards of conservation discussed in the previous paragraph. The second is the degree of restoration. It matters for example whether a building is to be inhabited or merely on display. Fitness for purpose differs in either case. Health and safety factors come into consideration, for example fire standards and other hazards. In the restoration of old working boats and ships for example integrity may have to be sacrificed to deck head room, sanitary facilities navigation aids and availability of lifesaving equipment. Meaningfulness of an exhibit or monument may be a consideration. One of the most notable and controversial examples is the restoration of the Minoan Palace at Knossos in Crete by Sir Arthur Evans. Purists are deeply offended by his use of concrete and garish colours. But generations of tourists have appreciated Evans’ evocation of what the palace looked like in the 15th century BC.
45. Venice itself of course is a giant laboratory of conservation and restoration, and the Venice Charter of 1964 provides benchmarks against which to weigh questions of old against new in restoration.
46. The constituency of conservators is, like that of art historians, small. Training follows different patterns and traditions. Nevertheless co-operation between conservators, art historians and curators, when it happens, is very fruitful for the promotion of the understanding of art, and has been the basis for popular and instructive displays and exhibitions in several European countries.
Conclusions and recommendations
47. To conclude that “Art does not speak for itself” is not to repeat a superficial soundbite. It underlines the fundamental observation that the art object is the centre of art history and its practice. Art history must therefore see its mission as the study of the central importance of the art object in human history and how to understand and appreciate the full range of artistic production and to communicate this to the audience. This can be promoted at this time in Europe through a number of means of support.
48. Who represents art history? Under the heading of art history we can recognise a range of practitioners, from those at the cutting edge of art history as an intellectual discipline to those, equally important, who conserve the art and to those curators who ensure that the public can see and appreciate it at all levels of understanding, and to those popularisers and critics who extend the range of interested viewers. The subject will flourish if there are means to ensure the cross-fertilisation of art and ideas within this community and, through its activities, throughout society. Support is needed for conferences and meetings in which questions of common interest are defined and discussed.
49. Support is needed for active collaboration between museums and schools, between museums and universities, between universities and schools, between academics and curators, guides and others involved in promoting the understanding and appreciation of the power of images. Such networking opportunities are possible through meetings as well as support for electronic communications. The European museum award scheme run by the European Museum Forum under the auspices of the Council of Europe already does much to promote an active inter-relationship between museums and the public.
50. Support is needed to ensure that countries promote the history of art in terms of research and education through ensuring that sufficient practitioners are in employment in museums and universities to ensure the continuation and expansion of the subject. Career structures in this field follow no common pattern. It would be of great benefit if opportunities existed for university and schoolteachers to work in museums and galleries and for curators to teach in other institutions.
51. We are currently experiencing a revolution in the provision of visual archives as fundamental to art history as was the invention of photography. However the digitisation of visual materials is in its early stages and needs further encouragement and support. This will open up knowledge of the vast amounts of artistic production in Europe not only to professionals but also to the public through the Internet.
52. Monuments and sites are visited by considerable numbers of the public. Countries rightly have a policy to increase access to these. This impinges on all the complex issues of conservation. It is necessary to make the art components in all these monuments accessible to visitors as well as to pass on this art in the best condition possible to future generations. Good practice in conservation and environmental control needs to be communicated throughout the countries of Europe to ensure the dissemination of learning from successful outcomes. Discussion is needed between conservators and between art historians and conservators on the education of conservators. This should include discussion of the issue of common aims and standards for the profession across Europe.
53. Since art history can help international understanding and tolerance discussion should be encouraged on the nature of training in art history, particularly in schools. In this discussion examples of good practice should be made widely known of how in schools the art of regions and other European materials can be studied, as well as how world art can be placed within a European perspective.
54. European countries can support the key aim and mission of art history, which is to promote the public enjoyment and understanding of the art in specific ways. The clearest way to support art history to achieve such an aim is by the expansion of sponsorship and support of exhibitions both small and large in scale. Exhibitions give opportunities for viewers at all levels of experience to appreciate art from various locations and regions at first hand in their own countries. Support for special exhibitions enables the public to see art without travelling long distances and so to add to their experience of art in their own local museums and monuments.
55. As they open up art history to the whole of society the importance of exhibitions cannot be exaggerated. Special exhibitions and the related enterprises of conferences and education programmes can involve co-operative ventures across Europe and with other countries of the wider world. They are a reliable way of broadening visual experience and tolerance. They can help to address the origins of historic national antagonisms and perceived categories of difference between east and west, north and south. The series of Council of Europe Art Exhibitions concentrates on art in historical European contexts. One of the most politically relevant has been the exhibition on “Art and Power” (London - Barcelona - Berlin 1995-96). [see illustration]
56. Thus art history is an important key to the understanding, appreciation and simple enjoyment of art objects. This can happen in the home through books, television, CD-Rom or on the Internet, in the classroom, in local or national museums or in sites and monuments at home and abroad. This understanding, appreciation and enjoyment may be of the art objects simply for themselves or as part of an ever widening personal conceptual framework of art.
57. As such art history can inform and enhance understanding not only of local and national culture, but also of that of other countries. This in turn can lead to understanding and tolerance of other cultures. Importantly too it is an antidote to the perverted use of art to promote division and hostility between cultures and nations. It is thus a basic tool for the achievement of some of the most cherished purposes of the Council of Europe. This report argues that the Committee of Ministers should press member governments to recognise, develop and promote the use of this important tool.
Reporting committee: Committee on Culture, Science and Education
Reference to committee: Doc. 8857 and Reference No 2547 of 9.11.2000
Draft recommendation adopted unanimously by the committee on 24 June 2003
Members of the committee: MM. de Puig (Chairman), Baronne Hooper MM. Prisacaru, Smorawinski (Vice-Persons), Apostoli, Banks, Barbieri, Berceanu, Braga, Buzatu, Mrs Castro (Alternate: Varela i Serra), MM. Chaklein (Alternate: Fedorov), Colombier (Alternate: Kucheida), Mrs Cryer, MM. Cubreacov, Dačic, Dalgaard, Mrs Damanaki, Mr Debono Grech (Alternate: Falzon), Mrs Delvaux-Stehres Mr Devinski (Alternate: Duka-Zolomi), Mrs Domingues, Mrs Dromberg, MM, Eversdijk, Mrs Eymer, Mrs Fehr, Mrs Fernández-Capel (Alternate: Mrs Agudo), MM. Gadzinowski (Alternate: Malachowski), Galchenko, Galoyan, Gentil, Mrs Glovacki-Bernardi, MM. Goris, Gündüz I, Gündüz S, Gunnarsson, Mrs Hadziahmetoviċ, Hegyi, Howlin (Alternate: Mooney), Huseynov R, Iannuzzi, MM. Jakic, Jakovljev, Jarab, Jurgens, Mrs Katseli (Alternate: Sfyriou), Mrs Klaar, Mrs Labucka, MM. Legendre, Lengagne, Letzgus, Libicki, Livaneli, Mrs Lucyga, MM. Lydeka, Malgieri, Marxer, Mrs Melandri (Alternate: Gaburro), MM. Melnikov (Alternate: Gostev), Mestan (Alternate: Pavlov), Mezihorak, Mrs Milotinova, Mrs Muttonen, Mr O’Hara, Mrs Ohlsson, MM. Podeschi, Rakhansky, Rockenbauer, Rybak, Mrs Samoilovska-Cvetanova (Alternate: Mrs Petrova-Mitevska), MM. Schellens, Schneider, Shybko, Sizopoulos, Mrs Skarbĝvik, MM. Sudarenkov, Tusek, Vakilov (Alternate: Aliyev), Mrs Westerlund Panke, MM. Wodarg, ZZ (Andorra),
N.B. The names of those present at the meeting are printed in italics
Head of secretariat: Mr Grayson
Secretaries to the committee: Mr Ary, Mrs Theophilova-Permaul