Publication and journals in the field of conservation in Portugal

António João Cruz

Historical context

In the frame of an institutional context, the conservation and restoration activity in Portugal emerged in the mid of the nineteenth century at the Academy of Fine Arts, in Lisbon, and later this activity came under the supervision of the National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA). Until the 1930s, the practitioners were painters who, in general, were only marginally devoted to restoration, and that only on an individual basis. The exceptions were rare and occurred mainly in the MNAA, where some painters (like Luciano Freire) had their main activity in restoration. On that occasion, in the 1930s, collaborations with scientists were established by initiative of some museum curators (above all João Couto) and the works began to be studied using laboratory resources (especially radiography) – and this gave rise to some publications dealing with conservation issues. Before the 1990s, these publications, in Portuguese, were included in national museology or history journals and, later, in exhibition catalogues, and were not signed by conservators-restorers, but only by scientists or art historians. Meanwhile, the training of conservators-restorers, which was based on a system of master and apprentice, in the 1980s began to be done through a formal system of education. First it was inside an institution (José de Figueiredo Institute, IJF), that developed from the restoration workshop of MNAA, and outside the regular national education system, and only later within the national higher education network (Higher School of Conservation and Restoration, which was extinguished in 1999, Tomar Polytechnic Institute, New University of Lisbon and Catholic University at Oporto). Only then did the conservators-restorers begin to publish. At first they published exclusively in Portugal and only when they started postgraduate studies they began to also publish in international journals (mainly from areas such as physics, chemistry or materials), in this case, usually, having conservation scientists as co-authors. While until the 1940s the conservation related publications focused only on paintings, after the organization of the MNAA’s workshops, at that time, they began to address different types of works. More recently, some studies have been published which address general issues rather than case studies. However, the conservators-restorers seem to show even today, some inertia in this respect and in most cases their publications are only related to academic activities.

The studies and publications in the area of the architectural heritage have, however, a different path. The first publications on the subject, with a political and philosophical perspective, appeared in the first half of the nineteenth century and were signed by intellectuals concerned with the identity of the nation. The interventions, developed with institutional support, emerged at the end of the century by the initiative of the national government through a department where engineers prevailed — a situation that essentially continues today with the difference that, already for some time, the engineers have been replaced by architects. Until the 1930s, however, publications that dealt with practical cases were rare. They began to gain significance only in 1935 in a journal, with monographic issues, published until 1966 by one of these national services (the General Directorate of National Buildings and Monuments, or DGEMN). That tradition of presenting publicly the major interventions in national journals persisted until today in other national journals. Furthermore, the presentation of studies related with materials and intervention techniques developed in academic contexts (namely some faculties of Architecture or Civil Engineering in Lisbon, Oporto, Coimbra and Braga) or other national institutions (namely the National Laboratory for Civil Engineering, or LNEC) are presented mainly in national and international congresses.

Journals in Portugal

Today, the main Portuguese journal devoted solely to conservation is Conservar Património (see Table), published by the Professional Association of Conservators-Restorers of Portugal, which is indexed in several international databases, namely in AATA. It has a broad scope and publishes papers, after peer review, in Portuguese and other languages. Many papers are on Portuguese subjects, but a significant number of authors are from foreign countries. Among the Portuguese authors, conservation scientists seem to be in the majority. Some issues were dedicated to the papers presented at  some specific scientific meetings.

Another journal only focused on conservation is ECR – Estudos de Conservação e Restauro. It is published by a research centre based in a faculty with conservation-restoration courses and many papers, mainly case studies, are related to studies developed there. The papers are reviewed by the members of the scientific committee.

Cadernos de Conservação e Restauro is another journal in the field of conservation, published, very irregularly, by the national institute of conservation. The majority of papers are related with the institute’s activity and does not appear to have peer review. The authors are mainly conservators. The latest issues were monographic and dedicated to some important paintings housed in Portugal, although with Flemish origin. The last issue dates from 2010 and it is unclear whether the journal is still in publication – a doubt that also arises about other Portuguese journals with irregular periodicity and reduced frequence.

The digital journal e-conservation is based in Portugal, but it is not specialized in Portuguese subjects. Moreover, it publishes only in English and the number of full papers written by Portuguese authors is very low.

Besides these journals, two magazines, under the name of Boletim, were published in the past, very irregularly, by a public conservation centre and an association for the development of conservation. In general, the issues had a very small number of pages, which were largely devoted to news.

In the specific area of the architectural heritage, three periodicals must be mentioned because of their interest for conservators, although none of them is devoted exclusively to conservation. They are all only dedicated to Portuguese case studies.

The journal Monumentos, presently is owned by a national agency active in the area of the urban rehabilitation and, in part, continues the journal of DGEMN, already mentioned, published between 1935 and 1966. Each issue is dedicated to one monument or to one urban set and the papers are commissioned, being the authors predominantly architects or historians. Conservation issues, in a restricted sense, appeared occasionally.

Património – Estudos is a journal published by the national institute responsible for the architectural heritage. The issues are thematic and the papers are also commissioned. The authors’ education areas are quite diverse.

The magazine Pedra & Cal is property of an association of companies specialized in urban and heritage rehabilitation. It mainly publishes news and short notes related to interventions done by the associates.

Recently, the Anuário do Património begun to be published, which, along with a directory of companies and professionals working in the field of the urban and heritage rehabilitation, intends to present news and small notes about some interventions.

Some Portuguese journals or magazines of other areas have also interest for conservation or have published studies written by conservators. Among the academic or technical journals, the more relevant are: Azulejo (about tiles), Artis and Revista de História da Arte (both focused on history of art), Revista da Faculdade de Letras - Ciências e Técnicas do Património (dedicated to cultural heritage) and (concerned with museology). Among the specialized magazines, Invenire, devoted to the cultural patrimony of the Catholic Church is also of interest to conservators and conservation.

Besides these publications with national scope, there are also many journals and magazines devoted to the local heritage, published by local institutions, namely museums, organisms of local administration and local associations, that have published some notes or studies with relevance to conservation or written by conservators. Moreover, several institutions have, or had, newsletters primarily for internal distribution.

Main journals related to conservation published in Portugal after 2000


António João Cruz holds a degree in Chemistry (1986) and PhD in Analytical Chemistry (1993) from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. Currently, he is Adjunct Professor at the School of Technology, Polytechnic Institute of Tomar, Portugal. Over the past 20 years has been involved in the study of works of art, especially Portuguese paintings and polychromed sculptures. He has also been interested in the relationship between science and conservation, the study of pigments history through documentary sources and the history of conservation and restoration in Portugal. He maintains a personal website (, since 1999) and a blog on laboratory studies, the material aspects and the conservation and restoration of works of art (, since 2006). He is the editor of the journal Conservar Património. Mail:


António João Cruz, "Publication and journals in the field of conservation in Portugal",

This is the original of the text that was published under an edited and condensed form (not reviewed by me): António João Cruz, "Conservation Publications - IIC member's reviews of international periodicals: Portugal", News in Conservation, 35, 2013, pp. 17-19