Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will be acknowledged about the chemical constitution and degradation behaviors of different heritage and restoration materials such as paintings (pigments, binding media, varnishes), metal/alloys and restoration materials (consolidants, fillers, protective coatings).

Course contents

PAINTINGS and PIGMENTS: optical and chemical properties, pigment classification

BINDING MEDIA: physical, optical and chemical properties. Historical use. Proteins, glues, egg, casein, milk, polysaccharides, drying oils, modern synthetic binders.

SOLVENTS and SOLUTIONS: solubilisation processes, mechanisms, concept of solubility, solvent power, other properties of solvents (vapour pressure, boiling point, volatility, retention, surface tension, etc.)

CLEANING AGENTS and SYSTEMS: claasification of most common solvents, reactive solvents, enzymes, bacteria, ion exchange resins, laser cleaning, emulsion and surfactants, resin soaps, solvent gels.

VARINSHES, ADHESIVES, CONSOLIDANTS, FILLERS: natural resins, synthetic resins, waxes, versishes and protective coatings, adhesives, consolidants and fillers.

METALS and ALLOYS: constitution, production technologies, deterioration and conservation-restoration


Transparences and course notes

M. Matteini, R. Mazzeo, A. Moles; Chemistry for restoration. Paintings and restoration materials. Nardini Editore, Firenze, 2016.

D.A.Scott, Metallography and microstructure of ancient and historic metals, The J.P. Getty Trust, Singapore, 1991.

Teaching methods

Lectures and laboratory sessions providing a basic understanding of chemistry for restoration as well as new approaches in conservation science.

Assessment methods

The final examination consists of a oral discussion on the topics covered in class and laboratory sessions and is aimed at evaluating the theoretical knowledge acquired during the course, the possession of language skills and the acquisition of an organic vision of the covered course topics.
Good or excellent grades can be achieved by students who demonstrate a critical knowledge of the subject, who are able to apply theoretical concepts to practical examples and make use of an appropriate language. Mostly mnemonic knowledge, limited abilities of synthesis and analysis as well as imprecise language lead to grades ranging from discrete to sufficient. Important gaps, inappropriate language, lack of an overview of the topics covered will inevitably lead to a barely adequate grade or to a negative evaluation.

The topics discussed during the laboratory session are an integral part of the oral examination

At the end the teacher assigns a score (from 18/18 to a max of 30/30 cum laude) that reflects student's degree of preparation.

Teaching tools

Computer projector, PC.

Students are allowed to have access to the reserarch laboratory of the teacher provided that are accompained by him.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Rocco Mazzeo