37489 - Processes in Conservation

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Francesca Tonini

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/04

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Ravenna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Science for the Conservation-Restoration of Cultural Heritage (cod. 8537)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Oct 04, 2022 to Oct 27, 2022


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the Student will acquire knowledge: - to recognize constituent materials and forms of alteration and/or deterioration of the work of art, - to implement the most appropriate investigations to assess the state of conservation, - to provide the conservator-restorer with useful information for the preparation of an adequate intervention project using a dialectical and interdisciplinary approach. The student will be able to: - recognize techniques and constituent materials of artefacts (mainly polychrome wooden sculpture and easel paintings) - identify the main causes and phenomena of degradation - identify suitable analytical methodologies - acquire basic knowledge on materials and restoration techniques - learn methods and tools for preventive conservation, with reference to light, temperature, and R.H. - improve capacity to team work - apply the concepts learned, develop a critical and ethical approach to conservative intervention, and know how to communicate through specific terminology the data collected by transferring them into a treatment proposal or a condition report - interact with the professional figure of the Conservator-Restorer in a dialectical and interdisciplinary relationship

Course contents

□ Conservation Scientist and Conservator-Restorer for cultural heritage: who does what

□ Wood technology

□ Constituent materials and techniques: panel paintings

□ Constitutent materials and techniques: wooden polychrome sculpture

□ Wooden objects: deterioration phoenomena, identification of degradation processes and causes

□ Constituent materials and techniques: canvas paintings

□ Paintings: deterioration phoenomena, identification of degradation processes and causes

□ Laboratory: microscopic analysis of wood (and textile fibers samples)

□ Laboratory: gilding and painting techniques on mock-ups

□ Laboratory:weaving practice on mock-ups

□ Laboratory:carving practice on mock-ups

□ Laboratory: technical reports on-site

□ Case studies

□ Treaties and scientific bibliography: bibliographic references, sources, web tools, dedicated contents, etc.


Lectures' slides

Reference tests for exam:

- M. Ciatti, C. Castelli, A. Santacesaria, Panel Paintings. Technique and conservation of wood supports, Edifir, Firenze 2006, from page 81 to page 122

- The Coremans project. Intervention criteria for altarpieces and polychrome sculptures, https://www.libreria.culturaydeporte.gob.es/libro/proyecto-coremans-criterios-de-intervencion-en-retablos-y-escultura-policromada_5338/, pagg. 77-120, and 127-130

- The Coremans project. Easel paintings, https://www.libreria.culturaydeporte.gob.es/libro/proyecto-coremans-criterios-de-intervencion-en-pintura-de-caballete_5334/, pagg. 170-215, and 225-231

Reference tests (not compulsory):

- Stephen Hackney, On Canvas: Preserving the Structure of Paintings, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles 2020

- S.P. Diodato, I buoni colori di una volta. Ricettario fotografico per conoscere e fabbricare pigmenti, leganti, vernici e materiali artistici antichi, direttamente dai trattati medievali, Diodato, Sambuceto (CH) 2018

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

- F. Tonini, La scultura lignea. Tecniche e restauro. Manuale per allievi restauratori, Il Prato, Padova 2015

- L. Broecke, Cennino Cennini. Il libro dell’arte. A new English translation and commentary with Italian transcription, Archetype Publications, London 2015

- D. De Luca, I manufatti dipinti su supporto tessile. Vademecum per allievi restauratori, Il Prato, Padova 2015

- S. Rinaldi, Storia tecnica dell’arte. Materiali e metodi della pittura e della scultura (secc. V-XIX), Carocci, Roma 2011

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

- L. Masschelein-Kleiner, Ancient binding media, varnishes and adhesives, ICCROM, Rome 1995 (for free online)

- R. Bruce Hoadley, Identifying wood. Accurate results with simple tools, The Taunton Press, Newtown 1990

- Artists' Pigments: A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, voll. 1-3, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260391388_Artists%27_Pigments_A_Handbook_of_Their_History_and_Characteristics

- AA. VV., Leganti, Fissativi, Pigmenti. Metodi di Riconoscimento. DIMOS, parte 1-modulo 3, Istituto Centrale del Restauro, Roma 1978

Teaching methods

The course will consist of:

- Classroom lectures with PowerPoint presentations and videos;

- Insights on specific articles, discussions and comparisons during class hours;

- Practical tests on mock-ups;

- On-site visits.

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of:

1. Written production (grade percentage 25%):

1.1 - Production of a PPS (PowerPoint) report on a topic chosen by the Student, to be sent a week before the exam date;

1.2 - Production of a technical report on a work of art (panel painting / canvas painting / wooden sculpture) chosen by the Student, following the provided template, to be sent a week before the exam date.

2. Oral examination (grade percentage 75%): a discussion on the topics of the course, aimed at evaluating the theoretical knowledge of the subject, taking a specific language and acquiring an organic vision of covered topics.

The final assigned grade will be determined also with the evaluation of the activity carried out during the hours of the course.

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, on-site visits.

Office hours

See the website of Francesca Tonini