research forum visiting conservator lecture

Organic Materials in Wall Paintings: Their History and Identification

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

image of a woman with multispectral imaging equipment in front of a wall painting
A conservator using multispectral imaging to study the 17th-century wall painting cycle by Andrea Pozzo in Mondovì. Photo: F. Piqué.

Speaker(s): Francesca Piqué (Consultant for the Getty Conservation Institute and Researcher at SUPSI, Lugano)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Dr Sharon Cather

The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) has just completed a 7-year study of the elusive organic materials used liberally by wall painters throughout history: binding media, organic colorants, and original varnishes. Challenges in their identification has meant that these materials are typically neglected in favour of identifying pigments, a much easier task. An international, multidisciplinary project ? Organic Materials in Wall Paintings ? has focused on assembling the primary literature for their use (Reviews in Conservation 2004), evaluating potential investigation and analytical techniques, and then applying these results to two significant case studies: Agnolo Gaddi’s ‘Legend of the True Cross’ of the 1380s in the Cappella Maggiore, Santa Croce, Florence, and Andrea Pozzo’s early illusionistic scheme at the church of the Missione, Mondovì, Piedmont.

Evaluation of examination, imaging and analytical techniques was carried out in collaboration with research partners in Florence, Milan, Padua, Parma, Perugia, Rome, and the Vatican. Results of this major project will be presented by Francesca Piqué, project coordinator and principal author of the forthcoming publication.

Piqué is a chemist and wall painting conservator (The Courtauld 1991 and 1992); she was a project specialist at the GCI (1993-2004) during which time she worked in Benin, China, the Czech Republic, Israel, Tanzania and Tunisia. She is currently consulting for the GCI on the Herculaneum Project, and for the Opificio delle Pietre Dure on the investigations of the wall paintings by Giotto in the Bardi and Peruzzi Chapels in the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence.

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