70747 - History and Theory of Restoration

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will have a deep knowledge of historical and cultural events that led to the modern concept of restoration, through the invastigation of episodes of particular significance from XV to XX century; therefore, the student will be able to understand the actuality through a critical severe analysis and to proceed with expertise in the field of preservation science because of the comparison with the evolution of the taste and the practices over the centuries. Finally, he/she wiil be able to recognize old and previous interventions of restoration in such a way to proceed safely to practical activities.

Course contents

The course is divided into two modules:

In the first, will outline the basic features of the discipline through the investigation of the different theories and practices that have marked the history of the restoration and preservation of monuments and works of art from the Renaissance to our days. All the lectures will be focused on a very important theme such as conservation and preservation of mural art, with particular interest to the frescoes, for the past, and, for the contemporary, to the Graffiti-Writing and Urban Art. For some time now, disciplines such as Street art have been the subject of the attention of renovation works and restoration experts who, in their work, are contributing to the formulation of an appropriate theory for the preservation of these proofs of contemporary pictorial art.


The second module focuses the history and the theories of restoration in Italy and in Europe from the end of the XIX th Century to the end of the XX th Century, with a particular attention to the protagonists of those disciplines, such as John Ruskin, Eugène Emanuell Viollet le Duc, Camillo Boito, Alfonso Rubbiani, Cesare Brandi, Giulio Carlo Argan, Giovanni Urbani, Umberto Baldini.


First part:

C. BRANDI, Teoria del restauro, Torino, Einaudi, 1977; A. CONTI, Restauro, Jaca Book, Milano 1992; L. CIANCABILLA, Per una prima mostra storica degli estrattisti in L’incanto dell’affresco. Capolavori strappati da Pompei a Giotto, da Correggio a Tiepolo, catalogo della mostra, Vol. I, a cura di L. CIANCABILLA, C. SPADONI, Silvana editore, Cinisello Balsamo, 2014, pp. 29-72; C. OMODEO, L'arte allo stato urbano o L. CIANCABILLA, Il distacco dei graffiti in Street art. Banksy & co. L'arte allo stato urbano, catalogo della mostra, a cura di L. CIANCABILLA, C. OMODEO, Bup, Bologna 2016, pp. 9-16 o pp. 17-25; L. CIANCABILLA, The sight gallery. Salvaguardia e conservazione della pittura murale urbana contemporanea a Bologna, BUP, Bologna, 2015; L. CIANCABILLA, Restaurare, collezionare e musealizzare Blu fra mercato e conservazione, strada e atelier in A. CADETTI, C. MARCHESE, F. PACE (a cura di), L’esperienza dell’arte pubblica e ambientale fra storia e conservazione, Firenze 2020, pp. 199-209.

Second part:

M.CIATTI, Appunti per un manuale di storia e di teoria del restauro. Dispense per gli studenti, Firenze Edifir 2009 (only the chapters indicated during the lessons); C. BRANDI, Il restauro. Teoria e pratica, a cura di M. Cordaro, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1994. (only the chapters indicated during the lessons). Different theme in deepining for the monographic course: G.BONSANTI e M.CIATTI (a cura di), Ulisse Forni. Manuale del pittore restauratore. Studi per la nuova edizione, Firenze 2004; La cultura del restauro. Teorie e fondatori, a cura di S. CASIELLO, Marsilio, Venezia 1996, (only the chapters indicated during the lessons); B. ZANARDI, Giovanni Urbani e Cesare Brandi. Due teorie a confronto, Skira, Milano 2009.

Teaching methods

Due to the restrictions imposed by the current health emergency, this teaching activity will be carried out in the following manner:

Traditional method: the teacher will always be present personally in the indicated classroom during this teaching activity. The students will alternate their presence, according to a schedule of shifts being defined (more detailed information regarding the shifts and about the modalities to get access to the classroom lessons will be provided soon). It will always be possible to connect remotely and to follow live lessons via the online platform TEAMS.

This course involves the use of presentations, through which students will be introduced to the visual knowledge of works and interventions of the past and of the present, continuously referring to and comparing theory and practice, from the origins to the present. As one of the purposes of this course is getting used to the direct visual examination of art works and artistic artefacts, the thirtytwo-hours visits to museums, sacred buildings, public and private collections and restoration yards are deemed as its integrating part.

Assessment methods

Oral examination on the institutional and monograph parts, including the use of images. A brief dissertation about the subjects discussed during the course.

The result of the exam will be: insufficient in case of linguistic and expressive deficiencies, as well as of missed or erroneous comment to the texts; sufficient in case of correct linguistic expression, possession of basic historic and artistic knowledges and understanding of subject in its chronological development; good in case of correct linguistic expression and knowledge of the texts and authors; excellent in case of excellent expressive ability, and in-depth knowledge of the texts and authors.


Teaching tools

Color/black and white slides

• Visits to museums and public collections

• Visits to public and private restoration laboratories

• Visits to restoration work sites

Office hours

See the website of Luca Ciancabilla

See the website of Emanuela Fiori