• The University recovers unpublished drawings by Vaquero Palacios and a mural painting by Paulino Vicente in its heritage restoration programme

    January 08, 2015

    The works aimed at the conservation of the historical heritage include the restoration of Rubio Camín´s mural painting, a section of Antonio Suárez´s stained glass window and some old class graduation photographs of the Faculty of Law.

    Sketch of San Juan of Valdedios, one of the unpublished drawings attributed to Joaquín Vaquero Palacios

    The University of Oviedo has shown a strong support to the recovery of its historic-artistic heritage, which has allowed, among other things, to recover seven unknown drawings attributed to Joaquín Vaquero Palacios, restore a mural painted by Paulino Vicente and also restore part of a stained glass window executed by Antonio Suárez. In addition, works include the restoration of mural works executed by Rubio Camín, two stained glass windows and some graduation photographs included in the inventory of the Asturian academic institution.

    The works for the full rehabilitation of the America Residence Hall have led to an exhaustive cataloguing of items, which has resulted in the discovery of unpublished drawings attributed to Joaquín Vaquero Palacios, in charge of the architectonical design of the building. These drawings show panoramic views of the city and the natural landscape. Among those pieces, we may find two sketches that represent the Basílica of Covadonga and the San Salvador de Valdedios Convent. The delicate state of conservation of the drawings has implied an in-depth restoration process carried out by María Blanco de la Piñera.

    Another specific action of this programme for the conservation of the university cultural heritage, promoted by the Vice-Chancellor for Campus, Computing and Infrastructures and supervised by the unit of Cultural Heritage, Exhibitions and Protocol of the Vice-Chancellor for University Extension and Communication, is focused on the restoration of a mural located in San Gregorio Residence Hall. Thanks to the cleaning and restoration process of this mural, carried out by restorer Luis Suárez Saro, the signature of Paulino Vicente has become visible. The mural, which resembles university life, depicts a group of students dressed in the traditional black robes and brown capes characteristic of San Gregorio School, founded by Fernando de Valdés for Latin studies. The Asturian painter includes an open book to sign, date and locate the work, in the university life of the 50´s, making a specific reference to Valentín Silva Melero, who was the Rector at the time, and to Torcuato Fernández Miranda, general director of University Education.

    As regards restoration of stained glass windows, experts have been able to recover some parts of one of the works of Antonio Suárez that had been disassembled during the repair works of the Faculty of Geology. Technicians have restored a fragment of the original stained glass window that has been placed on an iron wall hanging in the main hall. Five murals, related to different disciplines of the Faculties of Geology and Biology and executed by Joaquín Rubio Camín, are also going through a cleaning and restoration process in the building designed by Ignacio Álvarez Castelao. The artist designed those five pieces in 1967 and they were actually executed one decade later, including elements related to fields of study like fossils, stones and glass. The restoration process of the five murals has been carried out by Luis Muñiz.

    The actions aimed at the restoration and conservation of heritage also include the restoration of several old class photographs of the Faculty of Law, which is currently taking place at the Higher School of Arts of Asturias. The collection of portraits shows several graduation years of the end of the 19th century and some of the middle of the 20th century. The oldest photographs let us see some relevant lecturers like Leopoldo Alas, Fermín Canella or Melquiades Álvarez.

    Santos Cuadrado, prestigious expert in stained glass windows, is the author of one of the works restored last year. It is a stained glass window that shows a natural landscape with clear religious connotations, originally located in the Valdés Salas Residence Hall, and that is now restored and placed in the Higher School of Computer Engineering in Oviedo.

    On the other hand, the University of Oviedo has set up a specific place to deposit works of art, and keep the pieces that are not exhibited under the best storage conditions. Finally, the general lighting system and display cases of the Museum of the Faculty of Geology have also been renovated.

    The enhancement of the artistic and historic heritage of the academic institution is one of the objectives of the Ad Futurum Project, developed by the Campus of International Excellence. In addition to the heritage conservation and restoration processes, the institution has also implemented some pioneering initiatives in the past few years, like GAUDEO (Gallery of the University of Oviedo) which provides a virtual detailed tour of all the halls and rooms of the Historic Building of the University of Oviedo and that also has a virtual art gallery with a detailed technical description of each work of art.