Contact details
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House
London WC2R 0RN

+44 (0)20 7848 2164

Giovanni is a lecturer in Buddhist Art and its Conservation at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He graduated in Physics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, with a dissertation on technical imaging applied to paintings and he completed a PhD at the same institution with a dissertation on Nuclear Activation Analysis.

Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, where he studied prehistoric flint tools using a particle accelerator, Giovanni collaborated with the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, US, on a project entitled Organic Materials in Wall Paintings. This project aimed to deepen the present understanding of the use of organic materials in wall paintings by means of scientific investigations.

While working on this project, he became interested in conservation-related issues. He then decided to study for a Masters in Conservation of Wall Paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he worked on the Buddhist wall paintings in Mogao, Dunhuang, China. He completed the course in 2007 and in the same year was appointed a Mellon Fellow at the British Museum, where he developed multispectral imaging for the conservation of artistic and archaeological materials. Special attention was given to the development and implementation of visible-induced luminescence digital photography, a novel technology for the non-invasive identification of Egyptian blue, Han blue and Han purple. Using visible-induced luminescence imaging, it was possible to prove, for the first time, that the frieze and the pedimental sculptures of the Parthenon at the British Museum were originally painted using Egyptian blue.

He applied the same imaging technique on several artworks, including Han terracotta beads at the British Museum, the sarcophagus of Seti I at the Sir John Soane’s Museum; the wall paintings in the Tomb of Tutankhamen, as part of a project coordinated by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Egyptian Antiquity Authority; the tomb paintings of Nebamum; the Mausoleum at Halykarnassos, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos at the British Museum; the Acropolis Monuments, the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and the Royal Tombs in Vergina, Greece.

Building on his practical conservation experience in Mogao, Giovanni coordinates with prof. David Park the MA Buddhist Art: History and Conservation. Generously funded by an endowment of £2.5 million by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation of Hong Kong, the programme combines the separate studies of Buddhism, Buddhist art and its conservation.

The one-year MA includes teaching and research in the three principal areas of Buddhist studies, Buddhist art history, and conservation theory and approaches. Taught by a wide range of distinguished professionals, the programme also includes extended visits to important Buddhist sites and collections for first-hand study. A research dissertation allows eight students to explore subjects of particular interest. The MA leads to careers or further study in conservation, art history, site management, curating, and Buddhist studies.

Research interests


  • Multispectral Imaging
  • Technical analysis of painted surfaces
  • Ancient Greek and Roman polychromy / painted sculpture
  • Buddhist art and its conservation


Leverhulme three-year grant for studies on the luminescence of painting and conservation materials



Selected recent publications

In preparation:

G. Verri
, J. Ambers, J. Swaddling, T. Long and M. Gleba, “The garment of the Lady of Polledrara; an Etruscan painted sculpture”, in preparation

G. Verri
, S. Tanimoto, J. Ambers and P. Higgs, “The analysis of a Greek Classical panel painting from Saqqara, Egypt”, in preparation


D. Namdar, G. Verri, R. J. Stacey, A. Middleton and St J. Simpson, “A New Application of Fiber-Optic Reflection Spectroscopy (FORS): Characterization of Low-Temperature Alteration of Chlorite Schist and Implications for Understanding Ancient Stone Cooking Vessels”, Soc Applied Spectroscopy, 65, 1, 2011 43-51

G. Verri
, T. Opper and L. Lazzarini, “In picturae modum variata circumlitio?  The reconstruction of the polychromy of a Roman ideal female head (Treu Head)”, accepted for publication in the proceedings of La Policromia della Scultura Romana, University of Florence, Florence, Italy, 2010


G. Verri
, D. Saunders, J. Ambers and T. Sweek, “Digital mapping of Egyptian blue: conservation implications”, Conservation and the Eastern Mediterranean: Contributions to the 2010 IIC Congress, Istanbul 2010 220-224

G. Verri, T. Opper and T. Deviese, “The ‘Treu Head’: a case study in Roman sculptural polychromy”, The British Museum Technical Bulletin, 4, 2010 39-54

M. Smirnou, G. Verri, P. Roberts, A. Meek and M. Spataro, “Investigating the construction methods of an opus vermiculatum mosaic panel”, Accepted for publication in The British Museum Technical Bulletin, 4 2010 67-78

D. Namdar, G. Verri, R. J Stacey, A. Middleton and St J. Simpson, “A New Application of Fiber-Optic Reflection Spectroscopy (FORS): Characterization of Low-Temperature Alteration of Chlorite Schist and Implications for Understanding Ancient Stone Cooking Vessels”, Appl Spec 65(1) 2010 43-51

G. Verri, S. Tanimoto and C. Higgitt, “Inks and washes” in Italian Renaissance Drawings, Technical Examination and Analysis, Archetype, London, 2010 57-76

G. Verri and J. Ambers, “Revealing stratigraphy” in Italian Renaissance Drawings, Technical Examination and Analysis, Archetype, London, 2010 89-102


G. Verri, “The spatially resolved characterisation of Egyptian blue, Han blue and Han purple by photo-induced luminescence digital imaging”, Anal Bioanal Chem., 2009 394(4) 1011-21

G. Verri
, P. Collins, J. Ambers, T. Sweek and St J. Simpson, “Assyrian colours: pigments on a neo-Assyrian relief of a parade horse”, The British Museum Technical Bulletin, 3, 2009 57-62

G. Verri, “The application of visible-induced luminescence imaging to the examination of museum objects”, Proceedings of SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering, 2009, vol. 7391

S. Tanimoto and G. Verri, “A Note on the Examination of Silverpoint Drawings by Near-Infrared Reflectography”, Studies in Conservation, vol. 54(2), 2009 106-116

S. Tanimoto, G. Verri, D. Saunders, H. Chapman, J. Rayner, J. Bescoby, “Technical examination and analysis of Andrea Mantegna's Virtus Combusta”, Techne, M. Menu and E. Ravaud (eds), 2009 35

G. Accorsi, G. Verri, M. Bolognesi, N. Armaroli, C. Clementi, C. Miliani and A. Romani, “The exceptional near-infrared luminescence properties of cuprorivaite (Egyptian blue)”, Chem. Commun., 2009, 3392 - 3394, DOI: 10.1039/b902563d

C. Clementi, C. Miliani, G. Verri, S. Sotiropoulou, A. Romani, B. G. Brunetti, and A. Sgamellotti, “Application of the Kubelka–Munk Correction for Self-Absorption of Fluorescence Emission in Carmine Lake Paint Layers”, Applied Spectroscopy, Vol. 63, Issue 12, 2009 1323-1330

F. Rosi , A. Daveri, C. Miliani, G. Verri, P. Benedetti, F. Piqué, B. G. Brunetti and A. Sgamellotti, “Non-invasive identification of organic materials in wall paintings by fiber optic reflectance infrared spectroscopy: a statistical multivariate approach”, Anal Bioanal Chem.,  Vol. 395(7), 2009 1618-2642 (Print) 1618-2650 (Online)


G. Verri, “The use and distribution of Egyptian blue: a study by visible-induced luminescence imaging” in The Nebamun Wall Paintings, K Uprichard and A Middleton (eds), London, Archetype, 2008 41-50

G. Verri, C. Clementi, D. Comelli, S. Cather, and F. Piqué, “Correction of Ultraviolet-Induced Fluorescence Spectra for the Examination of Polychromy”, Applied Spectroscopy, Vol. 62, Issue 12, 2008 1295-1302

G. Verri, D. Comelli, S. Cather, D. Saunders and F. Pique', “Post-capture data analysis as an aid to the interpretation of ultraviolet-induced fluorescence images”, Proceedings of SPIE -- Volume 6810, Computer Image Analysis in the Study of Art, D. G. Stork, J. Coddington Eds, 681001 (Mar. 19, 2008)