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Alessandro Conti

(b Pisa, Dec 9, 1829; d Turin, ?after 1907).

Italian restorer. He was a painter of stained-glass windows, completing those in Perugia Cathedral by 1868. Later he worked exclusively as a restorer, particularly of wall paintings. He achieved fame through his work, in 1856, on Benozzo Gozzoli’s Rape of Diana in the Camposanto, Pisa, in which his aim was solely that of conservation. To this end he removed unsafe sections and simply replaced them securely on the wall, leaving repainted areas intentionally visible, in a conscious renunciation of the ‘artistic’ approach to restoration work. A trusted collaborator of Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle, he worked on the frescoes in both the Upper Church of S Francesco, Assisi (1873), and also the Lower, particularly those by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1874). He began restoration work in the Arena Chapel at Padua (1868–71) but was removed on the grounds of technical incompetence and replaced by Antonio Bertolli, who practised the same methods but was deemed to be more reliable. In ...

Article

The field of stained-glass conservation seeks to ensure the survival of historic stained glass for future generations using best practices established through collaboration with conservation scientists, art historians, conservation architects, and conservators from related disciplines such as stone and metal conservation. Strategies and philosophies for the treatment of stained glass should conform to guidelines for conservation in general which have stressed the need for minimal intervention.

See also Stained glass

In this traditional craft established over a thousand years ago, clear and colored glass, produced by a glassmaker, was supplied to the stained-glass artist. This glass was cut to conform to a design, originally employing a red-hot iron, and followed by a notched iron tool known as a grozing iron to achieve the desired shape. In the 16th century diamond cutters were developed, and more recently tungsten wheels have been used to cut glass. The glass was then decorated with vitreous glass paint (grisaille) which was fused to the surface by firing in a kiln. In the 14th century the use of silver-stain to produce a strong yellow color spread rapidly in Europe. The use of this revolutionary technique, in which glass was stained in the kiln with silver nitrate, allowed details such as the hair and nimbus of ecclesiastical subjects to be decorated, and the skill spread rapidly. Later in the 16th century, transparent enamels were developed and used to great effect in heraldic devices....

Article

Marsha L. Morton

(b Hamburg, Feb 16, 1803; d Lübeck, Nov 19, 1875).

German painter, draughtsman, stained-glass designer, illustrator and restorer. In Hamburg he studied drawing with Gerdt Hardorff the elder (1769–1864) and painting with Christopher Suhr (1771–1842) and Siegfried Bendixen (1786–1864). His admiration for early German art was inspired during a sketching trip through Schleswig-Holstein in June 1823 with Erwin Speckter. Drawings from this period include a copy of Hans Memling’s altarpiece in Lübeck Cathedral. Following a sojourn in Dresden in 1824, Milde and Speckter travelled to Munich in the summer of 1825 where they studied history painting at the Akademie. In 1826 they lived briefly in Rome; and Milde again worked in Rome from 1830 to 1832 where he was in contact with the Lukasbrüder. Their preference for an outline style reinforced Milde’s own primitivizing linear manner derived from his study of Northern Renaissance art. Milde’s few extant paintings are mostly portraits from the 1830s, although history paintings, genre scenes, marine views and landscapes have also been attributed to him. Milde completed both bust-length oil portraits and family groups set in domestic interiors, which provide a detailed record of middle-class life in Hamburg at this time. In watercolours such as ...

Article

Gavin Townsend

(b Lichtenheim, Lower Bavaria, Dec 3, 1818; d Munich, Feb 10, 1901).

German chemist. Although best known for his research into the causes of cholera and typhoid, he was also involved in art and architecture. In 1845, a year after completing his doctorate in chemistry, he obtained a post at the Royal Mint of Bavaria. Here he discovered a way of reproducing porporino, an antique red glass much used by the ancient Romans and admired by Ludwig I of Bavaria. In 1849, when a professor of medical chemistry at the university in Munich, Pettenkofer developed, at the request of the architect Leo von Klenze, a process of manufacturing a building cement that was the equal of Portland cement. Pettenkofer’s greatest contribution to art, however, lay in the restoration of paintings. In 1863 he was asked to find a way of reversing the growth of mildew on the varnishes of oil paintings in the various galleries of Munich. Through experimentation and microscopic analysis, he discovered that the varnishes could be cleared through the application of hot alcohol vapour. In this endeavour Pettenkofer introduced the use of the ...