Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CT0605 (AF:374020 AR:202824)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course is intended for students of the three-year degree in Science and technology for cultural heritage.
It aims to provide the basic notions and methodological tools to orient oneself in the theory and history of restoration and conservation, addressing the material history of works of art in relation to the culture of each era, up to considering the problems of our present.

The objectives of the teaching are: to acquire the specific terminology and theoretical concepts related to the restoration and conservation of works of art; to offer a solid historical-cultural framework of the main stages in the establishment of conservation and restoration practices from the Renaissance to the contemporary age; to ensure knowledge of the methodological orientations in terms of conservation and their variations during the different eras.

Achieving these objectives will allow students to observe and recognize in the works of art the traces of their passage through time and history; to identify the cultural reasons for the choices made for their conservation; to know the main figures who have carried out restoration activities or engraved through theoretical speculations on the definition of the same. The notions learned will foster the ability to orient oneself with knowledge of the facts in the major issues related to these subjects at present and to develop skills useful for interdisciplinary collaboration that characterizes the future professional environment.
- knowledge and understanding: attendance of the course and individual study will allow students to acquire the fundamental vocabulary of restoration and basic knowledge on the history of conservation of works of art, on the evolution of restoration practices, on the systematization of theories related to it and on the main protagonists of the history and theory of restoration, refining their awareness of the main problems related to conservation interventions.

- ability to apply knowledge and understanding: knowing how to consider mobile works of art with attention to the problems relating to their conservation and restoration, knowing how to critically analyze a restoration intervention, in relation to the history of restoration, to the currently shared theories and to the regulations in matter, knowing how to connect the material aspects with the cultural ones.

- ability to judge: ability to evaluate the conservative history of a mobile work of art, to understand the main transformations that have occurred with the restoration interventions undergone by the works over time and the cultural implications that have moved the choices made, ability to orient oneself in assisting operational choices.

- communication skills: ability to use the specific lexicon of restoration in an appropriate way to describe the state of conservation of a work of art and the transformations it has undergone over time, knowing how to connect present experiences with examples of the past and knowing how to compare on these issues with peers and teachers, participating in the dialogue between scientists and humanists.

- learning skills: to know the main operations related to a restoration intervention, to be able to recognize the marks left by these operations on a work of art; to be able to place the main restoration methods and practices in their historical evolution.
No prerequisites required.
The portion of the course (6 credits) will be dedicated to the history and theory of restoration from the Renaissance to the present.
The course will start with an analysis of the specific vocabulary, and then it will deal with theoretical and practical problems related to the restoration of mobile works of art, paintings and sculptures in particular .
The chronological and thematic issues fundamental for the development and fine-tuning of restoration practices will be addressed, analyzing the cultural and reading intent of the work of the various artists / restorers of the Seventeenth century (from Gian Lorenzo Bernini, to Orfeo Boselli, to Carlo Maratti), to then move on to the Eighteent and Nineteenth-centuries debates through the presentation of the key figures who animated it (from Pietro Edwards, to Johann Johachim Winckelmann, to Antonio Canova, to Berhel Thorvaldsen). Subsequently, the birth of specialized literature on the subject will be addressed, through the analysis of the manuals by Ulisse Forni and Giovanni Secco Suardo, but also the important debate related to the restoration of monuments animated first by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in France, by John Ruskin in England, by Camillo Boito in Italy. The lessons will then deal with the long and gradual transition of restoration from an artistic discipline to a technical-scientific discipline during the nineteenth century, to get to the Twentieth-century "carte del restauro", to the Theory of Cesare Brandi, up to address the contemporary debate. The lessons will combine the exposition of theoretical problems with the reconstruction of case studies.

- Cesare Brandi, "Teoria del restauro" (1963), Torino 1977 (or later editions), pp. 3-47.
- Alessandro Conti, "Storia del restauro e della conservazione delle opere d’arte" (1988), Milano 2002.


Non-attending students will add the following texts to the bibliography indicated above:

- Orietta Rossi Pinelli, "Chirurgia della memoria: scultura antica e restauri storici", in "Memoria dell'antico nell'arte italiana", a cura di Salvatore Settis, Einaudi, Torino 1986, vol.III, pp.183-250.
- Giuseppina Perusini, “Il restauro a Venezia nell’Ottocento: un ‘affaire accademico’”, in “L’Accademia di Belle arti di Venezia. L’Ottocento”, a cura di Nico Stringa, Antiga Edizioni, Crocetta del Montello (TV) 2016, tomo I, pp. 167-185.
- Maurizio Marabelli, "Il ruolo delle indagini scientifiche per il restauro e la conservazione secondo la Teoria di Cesare Brandi", in "La teoria del restauro nel Novecento da Riegl a Brandi", conference proceedings edited by Maria Andaloro, Nardini Editore, Firenze 2006, pp. 269-276.
Verification of learning takes place through an oral test.
The exam aims to verify that the knowledge derived from the topics covered during the course has been acquired and the basic concepts set out in the reference bibliography and teaching materials available on the university's moodle platform have been metabolized.
Lectures supported by teaching materials on power-point, made available at the end of each lesson on the university e-learning platform
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 05/09/2023