Filtering by: Program E

SG208A Program E
to Aug 2

SG208A Program E

Traditional Painting: Materials, Methods, and Issues in Conservation

2 Units
Instructor: Prof. Nikolas Vakalis


Mornings: Lectures 1.5 hours (SG208A)
Afternoons: 4 hours workshop (SG208B)

Course Description

This course gives an in-depth understanding of traditional painting materials and techniques commonly used in Italy from the Classical Antiquity, to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Since this course is aimed primarily at people planning to study art conservation, the course also explores factors that hasten deterioration of the materials and the different approaches to their restoration. Four visiting lecturers will present various topics of interest to painted artifacts and restoration case studies (frescoes, panel paintings, canvas paintings).

This course could be of interest to students of fine arts, art restoration, painting, art history, art management and museum studies.

Course Objectives

Summary of Lecture Content

Part 1. Traditional Methods and Materials in Painting


  • Masonry

  • Wood

  • Canvas


  • Pigments (organic and inorganic)

  • Natural

  • Artificial


Varnishes and Glazes


Fresco painting

  • Materials

    • Gypsum

    • Lime

    • Lime cycle and chemistry

      • Calcination

      • Carbonation

      • Slaking and seasoning

    • Aggregates (natural and artificial, inert and hydraulic)

      • Sands

      • Marble dust

      • Pozzolana

      • Brick dust

    • Materials

      • Arriccio

      • Intonachino

      • Pictorial layer

Fresco tradition

  • Ancient Roman

    • Pontata

    • Polishing

  • Byzantine

  • Renaissance

  • Giornata


Painting on wood board using 14th century methods

  • Board structure

  • Board preparation

  • Incamottatura

  • Gesso rendering

  • Pigments and tempera binding


  • Gouache gilding method (bolo)

  • Burnishing

  • Mordant gilding method

Oil painting on canvas

  • Stretchers

  • Canvas

  • Filler

  • Ground

  • Pigments and oil binders

  • Varnishes

Deterioration Causes

Crushed stones



Crushed bricks and others

Afternoon Workshop

See Syllabus SG208B

Description of Assignments

READINGS: Cenino Cenini, The Craftsman’s Handbook.

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SG208B Program E
to Aug 2

SG208B Program E

WorkshopTraditional Painting: Materials and Methods

2 Units
Instructor: Prof. Nikolas Vakalis


Afternoons: 4 hours workshop (SG208B)

Course Description

Requirements: Courses SG208A (theory) and SG208B (workshop) must be taken together.

This painting workshop aims to give students a better understanding of traditional Italian painting materials and painting techniques by giving them a chance to realize materially a series of paintings using these methods. This workshop is not an art class, although good aesthetics are appreciated. The main objective of the course is for students to understand well the painting process, the difficulties and limitations associated with each technique and how they influence both the aesthetics and the image making process.

The knowledge acquired in this course can be of interest to students of art restoration, painting, art history, art management and museum studies.

Course Objectives

Summary of Workshop Content

Part 1. Renaissance Fresco Technique

Support, preparation

  • Ariccio

  • Intonachino

  • Image transfer

    • Pounce

    • Stylus

  • Painting

    • Pigments

      • Natural

      • Synthetic

    • Paint preparation

    • Brushes

  • Secco

  • Glazes

  • Cleanup methods

Part 2. Sgraffito

  • Support, preparation

    • Arriccio

    • Base black coat

    • White surface coat

  • Image transfer

    • Pounce

    • Stylus

  • Scraping

Part 3. Painting on Wood Board using 14th Century Methods

  • Board preparation

    • Sanding

    • Gesso rendering

  • Paint

    • Pigments

    • Tempera binding and emulsifier

  • Glazes and varnishes

  • Gilding

    • Bolo

    • Gold foil

    • Burnishing

Part 4. Oil Painting on Canvas using 17th Century Methods

  • Prepare stretchers

  • Install canvas

  • Canvas rendering

  • Paint

    • Pigments

    • Oil binders and emulsifiers

    • Brushes

    • Cleanup methods

  • Glazes

  • Varnishes

Description of Assignments

Workshop Projects and Assigned Reading

READINGS: Cenino Cenini, The Craftsman’s Handbook.

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SG207 Program E
to Aug 2

SG207 Program E

Restoration: Theory, Ethics and Issues

2 Units
Instructor: Prof. Max Cardillo


Mornings: Lectures 1.5 hours (4 weeks)

Course Description

This course examines the purpose and goals of preservation. Beyond technical issues, lie matters of philosophy, ethics, cultural values  and “best practices” that influences the work of restorers. These issues are very important, because misguided restoration work is a major cause of destruction or falsification of an irreplaceable cultural heritage. In a field where there are no simple answers, this course, will teach students to assess the goals and values that guide and influence restoration and conservation.

The course is aimed primarily at students of art history, art, architecture, restoration, anthropology, archaeology, museum conservation, and management of cultural heritage.

Course Objectives

Summary of Lecture Content

Transformation time and memory

• Entropy and reorganization

• Time as a measure of entropy

• Present past and future

• Memory and foresight

• Types of memory

• Cultural heritage as collective memory

• Restoration preserves memory

• Curators edits of collective memory

What is the value of things we preserve

• Aesthetics

• Historic

• Religious

• Symbolic

• Scientific

• Functional

Transformations done to cultural objects

  • Recycling and collage of old material

  • Anastilosis

  • Restoration

  • Conservation

  • Additions

  • Completions

  • Adaptive reuse

  • Substitutions

Types of Restoration

  • Artistic

  • Artistic in style

  • Scientific

Motivations behind restoration

  • Preservation of cultural heritage

  • Commercial or economic interest

  • Institutional policy

  • Nationalism

  • Religious motives

  • Obsessive behavior

Ethics of restoration

  • Veracity and transparency

  • Reversibility

  • Preserving multiple values of objects

  • Cultural heritage as collective human property

  • Owners as custodians of the collective property


  • When is art or an object whole

    • Original intent of the artist

    • Material integrity

    • Cultural integrity

    • Historical integrity

    • Contextual integrity

  • Degradation of integrity

  • Potential unity of the (Cesare Brandi)

  • Fragmentation

Phases of restoration

  • Consolidation

  • Cleaning

  • Preservative treatments

  • Presentation and Integration


  • Evaluating necessity

  • Does dirt have historical value

  • Dirty patch

  • Cleaning to last layer of dirt

Presentation and Integration of art (retouching)

  • Modulation of lacunae’s tonality

    • Monochromatic

    • Chromatic modulation

    • Chromatic abstraction

  • Integration

    • Mimetic

    • Semi-mimetic

  • Tratteggio (rigatino)

  • Puntini

  • Chromatic selection

  • Down toned or simplified retouching

  • Sculpture, buildings, books, ceramics


  • Spatial

  • Cultural

  • Historical

  • Perception

  • Psychology

Space of Paintings

  • Pictorial plane

  • Pictorial space

  • Viewers space

Space of Sculpture

  • Mass of the sculpture (negative space)

  • Surface of the sculpture

  • Space of action of the sculpture

  • Space of the viewer

  • Space transformed by the sculpture

Space of a building

  • External space of the building

  • Internal space of the building

  • Mass of the building (Negative space)

  • Viewer’s path

Frames, borders, pedestals, covers, margins

  • Protective edge

  • Psychological or visual transition


  • Conservation

  • Accessibility to the public

  • Decontextualization

  • Contextualization

  • Collections


  • Substitutive

  • Reconstructions

  • Pedagogic

  • Revivals

Completions of Unfinished Objects

  • Functionality

  • Status of unfinished condition

Strategies of Preservation

  • Preservation laws

  • Restoration guidelines

  • Cultural risk maps

  • Dispersion of cultural heritage

Cultural property

  • Private

  • Heritage of local communities

  • National heritage

  • World heritage

Descriptions of Assignments

READINGS: Cesare Brandi, Theory of Restoration ICCROM


Class discussion of reading material
Term paper 1: 5 page paper on a topic to be assigned
Term paper 2: 5 page paper on a topic to be assigned (only graduate students)

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