21680 - History of Art Techniques

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Luca Ciancabilla

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/04

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Ravenna

  • Degree Programme Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage (cod. 8616)


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Affordable and clean energy

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will have a deep knowledge of the different executive techniques of works of art, the cultural foundations to be able to proceed with any restoration. Through the study of the evolution over time of several art techniques, the student, will investigate the relationships beetween the history of the taste and the history of restoration. In particular, the student will be able to determine what materials are used for the realization of the support and the image of work of art, the first step to determine the conditions of conservation.

Course contents

The course, which aims to provide the opportunity to study and learn about the history of artistic techniques through the study of ancient literature and sources of direct observation of several case studies, will focus in particular on the noblest of Italian pictorial practices, the "fresco". An incredible journey through two millennia of history of frescoes will start from the Roman wall paintings at Pompei and Ercolano, will continue with the Byzantine churches of Puglia, and then again with the investigation into the practice used by the great masters of the Fourteenth century, of the Renaissance and of modern age. Particular attention will be placed on the study of the relationship between sinopia and frescoes, between preparatory drawing and final execution on the wet plaster. The second part of the course will be dedicated to the mural paintings realized by the most important italian masters of the "great and long age of fresco". Students will have the opportunity to study the works of art thanks to the photos taken in important historic sites. In the sixteen hours passed in the lab, students will be able to study walls and frescoes according to an empirical approach that will allow the knowledge of the different pigments and binders (and of the different techniques and styles). A few hours will be dedicated to the study of mosaic technique in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, will be discussed in a constant relationship with mural painting practice. Wide space will also be dedicated to the investigation and study of stained glass painted between the Medieval Agee and the Renaissance, with particular attention to Italian cases and to the theoretical, practical and conservative aspects of this ancient technique.



MARCO VITRUVIO POLLIONE, De Architectura, ed. cons. con trad. a cura di L. Migotto, Einaudi, Torino, 1999; PLINIO IL VECCHIO, Naturalis historia, ed. cons. Storia delle arti antiche, libri XXXIV-XXXVI, trad. a cura di S. Ferri, BUR, Milano, 2000; C. CENNINI, Il libro dell'arte, a cura di F. FREZZATO, con la prefazione di G. BONSANTI, Neri Pozza, Vicenza 2009; G. VASARI, Le vite dei più eccellenti pitturi, scultori et architettori, Firenze 1568, ed cons., Einaudi, Torino, 1995, Vol. I (just the introduction dedicated to techniques), pp. 43-88; G. B. ARMENINI, De' veri precetti della pittura, Ravenna 1587, ed. cons. Einaudi, Torino 1988; F. NEGRI ARNOLDI, Il mestiere dell'arte. Introduzione alla storia delle tecniche artistiche, Napoli, Paparo Edizioni, 2001; C. GIANNINI, Materiali e procedimenti esecutivi della pittura murale, FIrenze, 2009, pp. 35-57; S. RINALDI, Storia tecnica dell’arte. Materiali e metodi della pittura e della scultura (secc. V-XIX), Roma, Carocci, 2011, pp. 13-46; 53-80; 92-103; 109-161; 169-201; 239-256; L. VLAD BORRELLI, La pittura murale nell’antichità. Storia, tecniche, conservazione, Roma, Viella 2015, pp. 16-18; 53-58; 58-59; 70-102; Il mosaico parietale trattatistica e ricette dall'Alto Medioevo al Settecento, a cura di P. POGLIANI, C. SECCARONI, Firenze, Nardini, 2010; C. BRISAC, Le vetrate: pittura e luce: dieci secoli di capolavori, Milano, Mondadori, 2002.



L. MORA, P. MORA, G. ZANDER, Coloriture e intonaci nel mondo antico in "Bollettino d'Arte", supp. ai nn. 35-36, 1986, s. VI, pp. 11-17; U. PROCACCI, Sinopie e affreschi, Milano 1960, pp. 7-48; R. PANICHI, La tecnica dell'arte negli scritti di Giorgio Vasari, Firenze 1991; C. BAMBACH, Drawing and Painting in the Italian Renaissance workshop. Theory and practice, 1300-1600, New York, 1999, pp. 33-248; P. e L. MORA, P. PHILIPPOT, La conservazione delle pitture murali, ICCROM, Bologna 1999, pp. 1-21, 69-85, 102-173,392-442; Tecnica e stile: esempi di pittura murale del Rinascimento italiano, a cura di E. BORSOOK, F. SUPERBI GIOFFREDI, Cinisello Balsamo, 1986, (the first volume in the pp. 11-25; 43-68; 73-82;131-134); B. ZANARDI, Giotto e Pietro Cavallini. La questione di Assisi e il cantiere medievale della pittura a fresco, Milano 2002; Dalla carta ai muri. Progettare e disegnare l'Arte Urbana. Dado, Corn, Ravo, catalogo della mostra, a cura di L. CIANCABILLA, Bologna 2018; M. GRASSO, Giorgio Vasari e la tradizione del mosaico a Roma e Firenze nel Rinascimento in Atti dell’VIII Colloquio dell’Associazione Italiana per lo Studio e la Conservazione del Mosaico, a cura di F. GUIDOBALDI, A. PARIBENE, Ravenna 2001, pp. 35-46; E. CASTELNUOVO, Vetrate medievali, Milano 1994

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.


During the lessons the professor will show slides to the students to introduce them to the visul knowledge of the works of art and ancient techniques. Lectures will be complemented by visits to museums and art galleries and public or private laboratories of restoration, and restoration sites.

Assessment methods

The exam will consist of an interview in order to check the understanding of the topics discussed in the lectures and the texts in program by the student (divided in two parts, institutional and monographic).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 sites
  • Meetings with experts of subject and restorers

Office hours

See the website of Luca Ciancabilla