Where science, art and architecture meet: the study and conservation of wall paintings.
The Department of the Built Heritage of the Faculty for the Built Environment, University of Malta is organising a seminar on Wall paintings: studies and conservation
on 9 and 10 September 2009.
Wall paintings represent a substantial component of the cultural heritage of the Maltese Islands. Dating as early as the Neolithic, wall painting in Malta has played an important role in the decoration of places of worship, including crypts, catacombs, chapels and churches, as well as palaces. Because of the specific technology of Maltese wall paintings, as well as because of the aggressive local environment, the preservation of wall paintings in Malta is often a formidable challenge.
This seminar will be an opportunity to review the issues involved in the conservation of wall paintings in Malta and abroad, as well as to describe the study phases necessary to arrive at suitable and often innovative solutions. This seminar will also offer ground for discussion at an international level thanks to the participation of two world-famous scholars, Prof. Maria Perla Colombini from the University of Pisa (Italy), and Ms Sharon Cather from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (UK) featuring as keynote speakers. The seminar will also include the participation of local conservators presenting scientific studies carried out on specific Maltese wall paintings, whilst other stakeholders with important roles in the conservation of local wall paintings will discuss their concerns.
The seminar is open to University students and lecturing staff, along with professionals in the field of conservation. Students from the faculties of Arts (including, but not only those reading Archaeology and History of Art), Science, Engineering, Education and the Built Environment, as well as staff and students from the Institute of Conservation and Management of Cultural Heritage (ICMCH) are encouraged to attend, since the seminar will be an opportunity to discover an interesting and challenging multi-disciplinary field.
The venue of the seminar is the Aula Magna, Old University, Valletta. The entrance is free but booking is highly recommended. Kindly send your details to Ms Roberta Deangelis by email
by not later than Friday 4 September 2009. Click here
to view the programme of sessions. Maria Perla Colombini
is full professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Pisa, and Director of the University Master programme "Materials and Diagnostic Techniques for Cultural Heritage". Since 1990, her research activity has related to the development of analytical procedures based on spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques for the characterisation of organic materials (proteinaceous binders, siccative oils, resins, gums…) and their degradation products in works of art and archaeological objects. She is specialised in the identification of proteinaceous materials, vegetable gums, plant and animal resins, organic dyes and organic archaeological residues by chromatographic and mass-spectrometric techniques. Her research has resulted in over 140 publications in refereed journals and books, and in over 200 lectures at national and international congresses. A list of her publications can be found here
Since 2004, she has been on the management team of the Division of Chemistry for Environment and Cultural Heritage of the Italian Chemical Society (SCI) and the Federal European Chemical Society-DCE. In 2004 she was Guest Editor for a special issue of the Journal of Separation Science. In 2000-2005 she formed part of the Editorial Board of Annali di Chimica, Journal of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry. Since 2007 she has formed part of the Editorial Board of Annali di Chimica, Journal of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry. Since 2007 she has been a member of the Editorial Board of Archaeometry and since 2008 she has been the Director of the Chemistry Library of the University of Pisa. Click here
for further information.Sharon Cather
is senior lecturer in the Conservation of Wall Painting Department of the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, UK.
Sharon Cather specialises in the diagnosis of environmental causes of deterioration, the technology of wall paintings, methods and materials of remedial interventions, and conservation theory. She has published extensively on these topics, and is currently preparing a book on Conserving wall paintings. Some of her publications can be found listed here
. Ms Cather plays a lead role in supervising departmental fieldwork programmes in China, Cyprus, Jordan, India and Malta, as well as MA and PhD students. She was a long-time member of the Council of the International Institute of Conservation, and is currently Chair of the Technical Committee for the 2010 Istanbul Congress; she is active internationally in various collaborative projects and advising on conservation of wall paintings, currently in Bhutan and Japan. Other professional activities include membership of the Scientific Committee of CERR [Centro Europeo di Ricerca sulla Conservazione e sul Restauro, Siena], the Council for the Care of Churches Paintings Committee, the editorial board of the Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung and the Lichfield Angel Advisory Panel.