Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Silvia Prati

  • Credits 6

  • SSD CHIM/12

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Teaching and Communication of Natural Sciences (cod. 5704)

  • Course Timetable from Nov 19, 2021 to Jan 21, 2022

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will achieve the basic chemical knowledge necessary to study the material characterization and ancient production techniques of different types of works of art, from those in metal alloy to polychrome mobile or immovable heritage. He will be able to understand what analytical investigations are commonly used in authentication studies of museum works of art and understand the role of such investigations in the multidisciplinary context of the study of works of art.

Course contents

Wall paintings and mobile paintings:

Materials (pigments, binders, varnishes)

Chemical transformations

Methods of conservation and restoration

Diagnostic techniques for the characterization of the aforementioned materials

Case studies with a focus on dissemination and on the use of chemistry of cultural heritage to teach basic concepts of chemistry



Not compulsory reference books

Scientific examination for the investigation of paintings. A handbook for conservator-restorers. D. Pinna. M. Galeotti, R. Mazzeo (Ed). 2009, Centro Di, Firenze

Mills , R. White R. Organic material in museum objects , 2d ed.Oxford , Butterworth Heinemann , 1999

M.Matteini, R. Mazzeo, A.Moles. Chemistry for restoration, Nardini editore, Firenze 2016.

Teaching methods

The course will consist of classroom lectures with PowerPoint presentations, videos, individual and in groups exercitations both in class and in laboratory 

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of a discussion on the topics covered in class, aimed at the evaluation of the theoretical knowledge acquired during the course, the possession of a specific language and the acquisition of an organic vision of the topics covered in class.
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 and 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 adeguate grade or to a negative evaluation.

Teaching tools

PC, projectors

Office hours

See the website of Silvia Prati