Institute of art restoration preparing future generations to maintain art history
August 14, 2012. In 1939 the Italian Ministry of Culture founded the Institute for the Conservation and Restoration to maintain the country's artwork and heritage. Five years later, in 1944, a school was also created in art restoration.
Since then, students have learned the process of restoring artwork as well as detecting any possible threats to it from insects or temperature changes. They also have the opportunity to work with important pieces of Roman art such as this iconic figure from the fifth century, one of the few of its kind that still remain.
Director, Laboratory of Panel Painting (ISCR)
“The hardest thing is to detect what was original from the V and VI century, and to differentiate it from what was placed above the pictorial film, which had been repainted or retouched.”
To restore these images, they use the technique known as 'tratteggio' which was invented by Cesare Brandi, the founder of the Institute. It's a way to reintegrate the vertical brush strokes such as these. They are clearly recognizable so that they are not confused with the original.
During their five years of training, these students also travel to many of the places where these art pieces were created. This year, students and teachers have formed a team to help in the recovery of the art that was damaged by the earthquake that struck northern Italy in the region of Emilia Romagna.
Director, School of Advanced Training and Study (ISCR)
“Many works from different places, mainly churches, were quickly packed and taken to the collection center of the Ducal Palace of Sassuolo. There, they were immediately opened and photographed to document their condition.”
The teachers say that many of their students have a natural talent in restoring art. Potential students have to pass an admission test to show their knowledge of art, their approach to colors and even knowledge in science, all of which are help to create a necessary foundation for learning to restore art.
“Before I studied here, I didn't know how to approach a piece of art to restore it. Now, they have taught me from the first to last step in what should be done for a restoration.”
During its 73 years of existence, the Institute has worked on restorations not just in Italy but also on pieces from Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico and Turkey. They have helped to restore frescoes, ceramics, statues, textiles, and paintings, as well as restoring a small piece of history.