MIC Dinner

Thursday, October 21, 2004, 20:00 - 23:00

The modern practice of restoration and the development of scientific investigations in the field of Cultural Heritage

Speaker: Giovanni Ettore Gigante

University of Roma "La Sapienza"

The development of a scientific approach to restoration is quite a recent achievement, mostly due to the cultural action of Cesare Brandi, first director of the Italian Istituto Centrale del Restauro. The influence of an idealistic philosophy of the humanities has delayed, in recent years, the development of a rationalistic approach to restoration. This approach ascertains the need to recognise the work of art in its constituent materials consistency and of defining the actions (restoration) to assure its survival. From this point of view, the development of diagnostic tools for analysis of the state of conservation of a work of art, and for the definition of the restoration project will be discussed with the help of some case histories, in which the diagnostic methods have given significant results. The strong development in the Medical diagnostic field and the lesser known progress of diagnostic methods in the conservation field will be brought together: the results of the study of famous frescos and some important large metal artefacts will be shown as a case study.

Giovanni Ettore Gigante graduated in physics in 1971 from the University of Rome "La Sapienza". In the period 1972-76 he was a fellow and afterwards became a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine of the same university. Following this, in the period 1976-86, he was at the University of L'Aquila as assistant professor and, from 1983, as associate professor. From 1986 he was associate professor at the Department of Physics of University of Rome "La Sapienza" teaching, initially health and medical physics, and currently courses in Archaeometry and Conservation . In addition, he is involved in several post-graduate courses on health physics, nuclear medicine, medical imaging and on the safeguard of Cultural Heritage. He is now the president, and national coordinator, of the courses in Conservation Sciences, recently introduced in the Italian higher education system. He has been a guest of foreign research institutions in Belgium, the United States and Brazil. He his responsible for projects of cultural exchange with Mexico and Brazil. He is author of a large number of papers concerning x ray physics and their applications and, more recently, on techniques for image acquisition and processing.