The research project

With regard to realisation within a fixed period and rather limited financial and personnel resources, the research project Visual Worlds – World Views (Bildwelten – Weltbilder) from 2012 to 2016 has dealt with an exemplary selection of 13 church interiors with their figurative Romanesque wall paintings. (Here you can see the overview map (German version)).

The selection fell on the best preserved and informative examples all of which were freed of overpainting and prior restoration measures or even revealed for the first time between approximately 1955 and 1975 under the supervision of the Westphalian Heritage Preservation Authority, in particular in the person of Prof. Dr. Hilde Claussen. In the case of these wall paintings the examination of the layer of Romanesque painting could be undertaken from a scaffold to a great extent without any obscuring overpainting with the required intensity and precision.

An interdisciplinary team was entrusted with this task, comprising a highly qualified wall painting conservation expert, Katharina Heiling from Wedemark near Hannover and the art historian Dr. Anna Skriver from Cologne. The epigraphist Dr. Helga Giersiepen from the Bonn Inscription Commission of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences complemented the team where inscriptions were involved. The research work was concerned on the one hand with the art historic description, interpretation and comparative valuation of the works, on the other hand, however, with the systematic inventory mapping, the examination of the painting techniques, the conservation history and the state of preservation. In addition, surveyors and photographers gave their support in compiling the basic mapping resources.

Furthermore, the project has also created a basis for preserving wall paintings for future generations. For instance, some urgently necessary conservation measures were initiated and accompanied, and in the case of all wall paintings reference areas were defined, photographed and examined by a conservator. These areas are again recorded and documented by monitoring at certain intervals under the same technical conditions. This means that deterioration processes can be recognised at the onset and preventive measures be initiated.

The research project was sponsored by:

Emil und Hanna Flatz-Stiftung (Foundation Trust of the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz)
Archdiocese of Paderborn
Sparkasse Dortmund
Societies of friends of project churches and their related church parishes
Individual private donations

Cooperation partners:

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum (German Mining Museum) Bochum, Research Department for Information Systems
Fitzek/Pancini Engineering Company, Cologne

Project members:

Dr. Anna Skriver, Cologne
Dipl.-Rest. Katharina Heiling, Wedemark
Dr. Helga Giersiepen, Bonn

Project Management Team of the LWL-Denkmalpflege, Landschafts- und Baukultur in Westfalen:

Dr. Dirk Strohmann
Dr. Dorothee Boesler
Dipl.-Rest. Leonhard Lamprecht M.A.

Without the willing support and collaboration of all the trusts, church parishes, institutions and companies involved and the persons acting on their own behalf or on behalf of others, as well as colleagues of the LWL-Denkmalpflege, Landschafts- und Baukultur in Westfalen the realisation of this research project would not have been possible. Our sincere thanks to everyone concerned.