Studio of Stone Sculptures and Stone Elements of Architecture Restoration

Statue of St. John Nepomucene, before restoration, master's thesis
Statue of St. John Nepomucene, condition of stone steps before restoration, master's thesis
Statue of St. John Nepomucene, master's thesis
Statue of St. John Nepomucene, removing of removable elements, master's thesis
Statue of St. John Nepomucene, deinstallation of the column, master's thesis
Statue of St. John Nepomucene, removing of relief, master's thesis
Statue of St. John Nepomucene, releif – detail, master's thesis

The concept of bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs forms a basic study framework at the Department of Architecture Restoration of Stone Sculptures and Stone Elements. The mission and direction of the restoration remain unchanged. However, the structure of the studies, their extent, content and general knowledge are changing, together with the development of methodology and, in particular, new materials and technologies. The Department of Restoration was one of the foundation articles of AFAD. Stone restoration was only sporadic. After 1980 it became a part of the Department of Restoration. In 1985 an independent studio "Rescue of Stone Monument Exterior" was created, and in 1990 an independent Department of Architecture Restoration of Stone Sculptures and Stone  Elements came into existence. Since then, teaching has been adjusted to standards of the European Union and US academies. In 2002, under the Higher Education Act, the study started to have three stages.

Bachelor’s degree programs:

The restoration of the stone sculpture and architectural elements study focuses on rescuing art works executed in medium of stone and exhibited in the exteriors. As they are mostly realized from a less resistant porous material, their material basis and original modelling are greatly disturbed by outer destruction and weathering. Understanding different types of materials, their properties, a degree of weathering and a choice of consolidation method of these monuments results from  primary physico-chemical and petrographic studies. From an artistic point of view, the emphasis is placed primarily on the sculptural, restoration correction of a particular work, based on the study of older records, analogies, but also one’s own artistic ability and inventiveness. The summary of all the findings covers the consolidation of the original artwork, its aesthetic rehabilitation, or the reconstruction of the artwork. When reconstructing a monument, it is necessary to take into account the monument intention principles, which will determine the specific methodology of restoration, the rate of original material filling etc.  After cleaning and conservation interventions the restored artwork is the subject of plastic modelling in clay and reconstructed like this it becomes a starting point for the creation of a copy from natural or artificial stone. Technical mastery of making moulds, casts, castings is also a part of a teaching process. A copy in the exterior replaces the original, which is displayed in an exhibition or a lapidary after restoration interventions. The undergraduate student familiarizes themselves with the process of restoration and demonstrates their artistic and technical abilities. The aim is to raise a graduate who will possess extensive technical and technological knowledge as well as the artistic sense while restoring stone monuments, and who will be able to demonstrate his/her expertise in their Bachelor’s thesis.

Master’s degree programs:

Master's degree programs require a more individual approach to dealing with more challenging work, focusing on artistic, technical and technological issues. Under the supervision of a tutor a graduate student already professionally deals with the history of an artwork and the processes which have made the restoration necessary. He/she acquires knowledge of the latest techniques and chemicals which protect and rehabilitate stone. In the case of the exterior sculptures, he/she cooperates with an architect, town planner, structural designer, conservationist, and other professionals from the field of chemistry, archaeology and geology. The final work is completed with a defence before the State Examining Committee. The required documentation must meet the criteria of the monument authorities and Ancient Monument Act.

Doctoral Study Program:

Admission to the Doctoral Study Program depends on the interview and submitted required documentation.

The purpose lies in finding a complex solution to the given task in the field of historical research, theory and ethical approach to restoration processes. The practical part focuses on the visual evaluation of the artwork on the basis of acquired knowledge and one’s own inventiveness.

Doctoral study program is not entirely focused on the use of experience gained during the previous studies, but also on the research of new technologies. The doctoral study program aims at acquiring knowledge and practices at other schools of similar specialization through internships, visits, seminars and other professional experience. The practical part is presented in a form of lecture and the completed documentation following Monuments Board and Ancient Monument Act’s requirements to prove the abilities and knowledge in all areas of stone restoration. The doctoral student demonstrates the increase and growth of his/her expertise not only for the stone restoration studio but for the benefit of the whole society.

Technological copy

An indispensable part of a teaching process for all three levels of study is making a copy in stone which should help acquire skills necessary for its shaping as well as realizing reconstruction replicas based on using the techniques of pantograph, shrinkage and magnification. The copy is also related to manipulation of heavy loads, practical and theoretical understanding of the production of stonemasonry tools.