The course acquaints students with the main historical and cultural steps in the restoration of artistic artefacts from the 15th to the 21st century, initiating them towards a methodological approach and critical tools necessary for the study of specific sources and the analysis of restoration solutions adopted in different periods and contexts. Together with the lectures, visits and conferences form in the student primary competences for interaction with the various professional figures with whom the art historian dealing with restoration and conservation must interact.
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Starting from recent conservation interventions, and thus from an initial critical analysis of factors influencing today's restoration culture, the course then deals diachronically with its history from the 15th to the 21st century, through the analysis of the most significant passages and the personalities and institutions that have played a decisive role.
The course, for which a basic knowledge of the history of art is desirable, focuses on a broad chronology in order to orient students with respect to the major historical and cultural changes that have influenced restoration choices. The aim is to direct students towards the consideration and analysis of the conservation history of works of art, as much in relation to material aspects as to the visual, historiographic and critical culture that has directed it. The lectures will follow a number of thematic threads including the changing relationship between the production and restoration of works over the centuries, the influence on restoration choices of the reception of works in their aesthetic, social and documental values.
The course offers the necessary training to study in depth specific cases and moments in the history of restoration and conservation in the subsequent training phases.

Core Documentation

Attending students should study:

• Alessandro Conti, Vicende e cultura del restauro, in Storia dell'arte italiana, parte terza: Situazioni momenti indagini, vol. 3: Conservazione, falso, restauro, edited by Federico Zeri, Einaudi, Turin 1981, pp. 39-112
• Orietta Rossi Pinelli, Chirurgia della memoria: antica scultura e restauri storici, in Memoria dell'antico nell'arte italiana, edited by salvatore Settis, tomo terzo: Dalla tradizione all'archeologia, Einaudi, Turin 1986, pp. 183-249
• Marco Ciatti, On the Restoration of Cultural Heritage. Viaticum for students, Edifir, Florence 2022
• Cesare Brandi, Theory of restoration, Einaudi 1977 or later editions, chapters 1-8.
and the following texts:
• Orietta Rossi Pinelli, Cultura del frammento e orientamenti nel restauro del XIX secolo, in Giovanni Secco Suardo. La cultura del restauro tra tutela e conservazione dell'opera d'arte, Atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Bergamo 9-11 marzo 1995, riedito in “Bollettino d'Arte”, supplemento al n.98, 1996, pp. 11-20.
• S. Cecchini, Corrado Ricci e il restauro tra testo, immagine e materia, in La teoria del restauro nel Novecento da Riegl a Brandi, a cura di M.Andaloro, atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Viterbo, 12-15 novembre 2003, Nardini, Firenze 2005, pp. 81-94;
• Raffaello a Capodimonte. L’officina dell’artista, a cura di Angela Cerasuolo, Andrea Zezza, editori Paparo, Napoli 2021, pp. 9, 29-41, 78-99.

Handouts will be provided in PDF on the course Moodle and Teams channels.

Knowledge of the slides illustrated in the lectures and in-depth materials posted during the lecture period in the 'lecture materials' section on the course's Moodle and Teams channels is required to take the exam

Students unable to attend should add to the bibliography:
- Alessandro Conti, Storia del restauro e della conservazione delle opere d'arte, Milan, Electa, 1988 (or later editions)

Reference Bibliography

Part of the bilbiography will be provided in PDF format.

Type of delivery of the course

Lectures, seminars, visits to museums, churches, conservation laboratories.

Type of evaluation

The student will have to demonstrate, by means of an oral interview, that he/she has studied and critically understood the topics dealt with during the lessons, illustrated in the slides and in the bibliography indicated in the syllabus; that he/she has therefore acquired knowledge of the history of restoration relative to the chronological span indicated in the syllabus; that he/she has acquired a methodological approach necessary to orientate him/herself in the study and analysis of the conservation history of the works of art. The interview will also verify the results obtained with respect to communication skills and autonomy of judgement.