Laura Mora, the famed and beloved Italian paintings conservator, passed away at the end of May in Rome. Active in conservation for over half a century, she and her husband Paolo Mora (who died in 1998) were major figures in the field, and their accomplishments included decades of work and teaching at Italy’s Istituto Centrale per il Restauro and the authorship, along with Paul Philippot, of Conservation of Wall Paintings, a landmark work in conservation.
Laura and Paolo were collaborators on many conservation projects around the world, including the Getty Conservation Institute’s very first field project, the conservation of the Tomb of Nefertari (1986–92), conducted in partnership with the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (today the Ministry of State for Antiquities). The Moras led the campaigns to conserve the tomb’s wall paintings and, as part of the project, trained conservators from Egypt and other countries.
Teaching and training, in fact, constituted an essential part of Laura’s and Paolo’s lives in conservation. In an interview with this publication back in 1991, Laura said, “Conservation was our destiny. In our early studies, we tried to establish a conservation program with a critical scientific approach. So we tried to construct and build slowly, first in our own experience, and then with others. We came to feel that we could transmit our experience to others in the field. Our mission, our passion, has been to do this, because it is through teaching that we confirm everything. We feel that we are not necessary anymore because a status has been created and there are young people in so many parts of the world who are our conservators. Thanks to them, we have understood things, and these are always things that come from the heart.”
Laura Mora, like her husband Paolo, will be sorely missed, but their legacy lives on through their many students and the heritage they conserved for future generations.