After obtaining a degree at the Art School of the Albertina Academy in Turin in 1966 and teaching qualifications in 1967, Gian Luigi Nicola began collaborating with his father Guido Nicola in restoring paintings and frescoes and at the same time he attended painting courses at the Albertina Academy with Francesco Menzio and Filippo Sartorio.
He specialises in the restoration of archaeological finds in wood, stone, stucco and terracotta, developing the consolidation technique under vacuum impregnation and a method of data collection, using graphic annotations and buffering surveys for documenting the state of conservation and technical-constructive characteristics of paintings on canvas.
The reconstruction and restoration of the Temple of Ellessya in 1967, marks the beginning of a long collaboration with the Egyptian Museum of Turin, for which, he restores over 300 wooden sarcophagi, more than 900 clay pots and artefacts and numerous stone monuments.
His great passion led him to investigate and document the materials and construction and executive techniques of ancient artefacts. The collaboration with Italian Universities in excavation campaigns in Egypt and in Sudan and the continuous contact with scholars working in the field of conservation and with Italian and foreign Protection Entities allow him to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the techniques and materials used in the antiquity for the realization of works of art and in the various sectors from painting, sculpture to architecture and design. This has led him to increase the collaboration with Italian and foreign research institutes with assignments by Italian Government Department for Cultural Heritage and other cultural heritage protection entities, especially Egyptians.
From 1970 to 1998 he is the owner of an artisan company with his wife Gianna Tognin, and from 1988 he is also Technical Director, together with his sister Anna Rosa in Nicola Restauri Srl
Numerous works have been carried out, in particular on stone, clay, archaeological finds and many frescoes on external sites.
From 1998 to 2012 he teaches Restoration at the Conservation and Restoration Course at the Albertina Academy in Turin, organising both theoretical and practical summer courses in the laboratory for his students in 2000, 2001 and 2006.
Since 2016, he coordinates the practical course on fresco techniques held in Aramengo for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Summer School, MIT: Materials in Art, Archaeology and Architecture ONE-MA3.
Since 2015 he is Founding Member of the Cultural Heritage Association Guido Nicola for Restoration.
Beyond the restoration
Gian Luigi is a versatile artist: he loves both painting and sculpting.
This is what Massimo Olivetti wrote about him in 1996: "... he perpetuates his research by collecting stones from the earth - dead and twisted branches - bones of trees - fossils - bones of animals and even fragments and artefacts of ancient religions, fragments, cast-off clothes, suggestions and shreds of being. Then with cunning worth to a Leonardo, reduces them in artificial compositions, new and old presences, monstrosities and artificial prodigies that perpetuate the memory of abandonment and discovery. His design... affirms itself to the end of the ruin of things. They are ironic resurrections, contemplated in the corners by mice, buzzards, owls, crows, ecological rodents and devourers of entities and substances, ready to dismember and recycle their artificial miracles indefinitely. " Gian Luigi has always painted for himself, for the joy of doing so, making his own a saying of Gustavo Rol, a friend of many years of the Nicola family: "Paint what you see, paint what you feel, but also paint what you do not see and what you do not feel; paint the spirit of things according to their existence in relation to Creation ".
Pictorial and alchemical deviations are the title of his exhibition set up in 2012 at the Madonna del Tavoletto Sanctuary in Sommariva Perno. In September 2013, he exhibited in the Craveri Civic Museum of Natural History in Bra, and in December of the same year, he participated with some of his works at the Bestiario Fantastico exhibition at the Linea-Spazio Contemporary Art Gallery in Florence in conjunction with the 2013 Biennial exhibition.
(For further information: www.facebook.com/Gian-Luigi-Nicola)
His extraordinary ability and ease in the drawing also emerge through his "workbooks" that collect sketches, annotations, observations and comments and document in detail the restorations are done.
The passion for research leads him to bibliographic interests, to study the history of weapons and customs and to deepen the knowledge of extra European cultures, especially those related to the African continent: this allows a more careful and comparative reading of the artistic events with which it comes into contact. His collection of African masks and sculptures is fascinating.
Gian Luigi, however, is interested in everything (except computer and all that technological things) and picks up and collects, since he was a child, an incredible variety of objects, ancient and not, books, work tools, but also shells, seeds or anything that has an attractive shape. Those who have been given the opportunity to enter his Wunderkammer hardly forget it.