Tomb Chamber of the Humor Monastery, Romania, 1972 Tomb Chamber of the Humor Monastery, Romania, 1972

The Humor Monastery is one of the best-preserved of the eight Painted Churches of Moldavia – a World Heritage site located in Romania. These churches were built between the 15th and 16th centuries and are most famous for their well-preserved and colourful external frescoes that are inspired by Byzantine art.  

At the request of the Romanian Department of Historic Monuments under the auspices of its Director, Dr Vasile Dragut, ICCROM undertook three missions to Romania in 1970, 1971 and 1972 to assess and advise on the conservation of the Moldavia monasteries. These missions were carried out by Paul Philippot, Paolo and Laura Mora, Raymond Lemaire and Garry Thomson.  

We were particularly involved in the restoration of the Humor Monastery. The restoration works on the frescoes began in 1971 under the direction of ICCROM experts, in particular Paolo Mora. An international and multidisciplinary conservation team was created, composed of the best ICCROM/ICR Mural Painting Conservation Course participants, together with Romanian conservators. Paolo Mora and Paul Philippot also provided recommendations for establishing a mural painting conservation service as an organic unit of the Department of Historic Monuments.  

Reports of these missions are available in the ICCROM Archives, which detail the restoration process undertaken on the mural paintings and contain numerous photographs depicting the conditions (before and after restoration) of the exterior and interior frescoes of the churches. Samples from the Humor, Voronet and Sucevița Monasteries are available for consultation in the Mora Sample Collection.