The endowment will fund scholarships and practical education for master's degree students focused on wall paintings in the field — both in the UK and elsewhere. From their earliest form as rock paintings, to those found in ancient Roman villas at Pompeii, to cave temples in Dunhuang, Mayan temples at Bonampak, the Sistine Chapel, and contemporary street art, wall paintings are seminal artistic achievements. They also face a unique set of complex conservation challenges owing to their scale and placement, the variety of materials and technologies used to create them, and contemporary challenges such as mass tourism. Established in 1985 in partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute, the Courtauld's three-year master's degree program in wall painting conservation has led the way in developing ethical and sustainable methodologies for the preservation of cultural heritage for future generations.
"The significance and importance of wall paintings to our understanding of art history and culture in general cannot be overstated," said Tim Whalen, the Getty Conservation Institute's John E. and Louise Bryson Director. "The Courtauld's program plays an indispensable role in ensuring that new wall paintings conservators are trained and equipped with the critical skills necessary to meet the challenges of this discipline. No other organization has so comprehensively and rigorously embraced this responsibility."