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Event Details

Mon, November 16, 2015

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, ITALIA

A Lecture by Dr. Federica Volpera, Medieval Art History, Independent Scholar

Scholarship on Thirteenth and Fourteenth century panel paintings has long focused on stylistic and iconographic aspects, but there was a complete lack of technical data. However over the last century, interest in late medieval painting technique has increased widely. Research has followed two approaches: first, exploring the meaning of the material aspects in relation to style and technique; second, using technical examination in order to understand the organization of a medieval workshop. On this occasion our attention will focus on a single panel painting: a dossal in the Acton collection, dated to the late Thirteenth century and attributed to the Manfredino da Pistoia, a cimabuesque painter. We will see how technical examination, in particular macro photography and infrared photography, can be used to study a medieval painting. Without touching the panel, it is possible to determine its physical condition, the degree and characteristics of retouching, the paint-layer structure, and the working method,
meaning how this artist worked on the panel, from preliminary drawings to the application of paint. Observation and non-destructive examination are essential instruments not only for a conservation project, but also to pose new questions related to an artistic object.

Featured Biographies

Federica Volpera

Medieval Art History independent scholar

Federica Volpera attended the University of Genoa, where she received her B.A. in Conservation of Cultural heritage in 2005. Her senior essay topic was Gothic Genoese Illumination, with a special attention to medical and scientific manuscripts, and she graduated with honors. She then went on to collect two advanced degrees, a M.A. in History of Medieval and Modern Art from the University of Genoa in 2009, and a Ph.D. in History of Medieval Art from the University of Florence in 2012. For her Ph. D. she wrote about the Genoese painting between 13th and 14th century, focusing on the relationship between Genoa and Byzantium. As a Longhi Research Fellow in Florence in the academic year 2013-2014, she has been a Visiting Lecturer in Methodology of Artistic Research at University of Genoa since 2014. The outcome of her activity has been published in Italian and international periodicals, in congress proceedings, and in miscellaneous books. Her interests focus on Medieval Illumination and Painting (with a special emphasis on the 13th and 14th centuries), Medieval Painting Technique (studies with the support of macro photography and infrared photography), and the art-historical contacts between East and West in the 13th and 14th century. Volpera is especially concerned with the adoption of Byzantine iconography of the Mother of God in Genoese painting, and the meaning of this phenomenon in the broader context of cultural and religious relationship between the Greek and Latin world.