San Gemini Preservation Studies 2017
Traditional Painting: Materials, Techniques, and Issues in Conservation
#SG208A (2 units)
Session 2 (July 10 – August 4) 4 weeks
Course #: SG 208A  preliminary syllabus
Instructor: Prof. Nikos Vakalis
E-mail: nikosvakalis@libero.it



This course gives an in-depth understanding of traditional painting materials and techniques commonly used in Italy during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Since this course is aimed primarily at people planing to study art conservation, the course also explores factors that hasten deterioration of the materials and the different approaches to their restoration.

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



Part 1. Traditional Methods and Materials in Painting
• Supports

o Masonry
o Wood
o Canvas

• Paint

o Pigments

¤ Natural
¤ Synthetic

o Binders

• Varnishes and Velature
• Fresco painting

o Materials

¤ Stucco
¤ Lime
¤ Lime cycle and chemistry
¤ Carbonation
¤ Aggregates, sand, marble, dust
¤ Arriccio
¤ Intonachino
¤ Pictorial layer
¤ Carbonation

• Fresco tradition

o Ancient Roman

¤ Pontata
¤ Polishing

o Byzantine
o Renaissance

¤ Giornata

• Sgraffito
• Painting on wood board using 14th century methods

o Board structure
o Board preparation
o Incamottatura
o Gesso rendering
o Pigments and tempera binding

• Gilding

o Gouache gilding method (bolo)
o Burnishing
o Mordant gilding method

• Oil painting on canvas

o Stretchers
o Canvas
o Rendering
o Pigments and oil binders
o Varnishes and velature

Part 2. Deterioration
• Causes of deterioration

o Aging and chemical deterioration
o Detachment of pictorial layers
o Wear and tear
o Environmental
o Biological attack
o Accumulations of dirt

• Approaches to restoration

o Cleaning
o Consolidation
o Treatment of lacunae


Four weeks from Monday to Friday. Morning, 2-hour lectures, afternoon, 4-hour workshop sessions.

Workshop projects, assigned reading

Cenino Cenini, The Craftsman’s Handbook.

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

See the 2011 Gallery – Traditional Painting Workshop

San Gemini Preservation Studies
International Institute for Restoration and Preservation Studies

203 Seventh Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA
tel. 718 768 3508