The Restoration of the 14th Century Frescos of the Chiaravalle Milanese Abbey

The Primo Maestro compared to the Giotto's workshop

2004-2010. Conducted in several lots, under the direction of the Government Department for Cultural Heritage for Artistic, Historical and Ethno-anthropological Heritage of Milan over a period of seven years, the restoration of the frescoes of the Primo Maestro of Chiaravalle (1315) on the dome and the tambour of the abbey and of the Giotto's cycle in the presbytery, was realized thanks to the funding of the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities and to the generous contribution of Banca Intesa and it got involved, along with restorers, art historians, chemists and architects. An intricate work from the technical point of view and at the same time very interesting, preceded and accompanied by a meticulous study and a punctual detection of all the technical data such as the Giornata, direct and indirect incisions, wire and string beats, dry shooting, the parts in metal foil, the punching, the use of cartoons and preparatory drawings, the presence of variations and repentance during construction and also some mistakes in the execution technique. This information, acquired through direct close observation of the work in normal oblique light, and through non-destructive instrumental analysis using ultraviolet light and optical fiber video microscope, has been supported by stratigraphic chemical analysis that in addition to providing valuable indications for the intervention of restoration to be carried out, proved to be very useful for the deepening of the painting technique and the characterization of pigments and binders. All the data collected were recorded through hundreds of photographs, graphics annotations and, on a sample basis, on the north wall, a 1: 1 relief was made in contact on a surface area of 90 square meters. The study of the Giornata, the putlog holes, the technical and stylistic characterisation of the different artists operating inside the workshop of Stefano Fiorentino allowed making interesting hypotheses about the complex organisation of the site.


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Anna Rosa Nicola Pisano, Valentina Parodi "Un approccio multidisciplinare finalizzato allo studio delle tecniche esecutive e al restauro dei cicli pittorici trecenteschi nell'abbazia di Chiaravalle milanese: il primo maestro a confronto con il cantiere giottesco" et al., Sulle pitture murali, riflessioni, conoscenze, interventi. Atti del XXI° Convegno Internazionale scienza e Beni Culturali.  Bressanone, 12-15 July 2005


Sandrina Bandera, Anna Rosa Nicola, Valentina Parodi - Il Primo Maestro di Chiaravalle: la cupola e il tamburo (pp.97-98) Glorificazione della Vergine - La Parete est (pp. 142-146) Deposizione della Vergine - La Parete nord (p.178); Corteo funebre - La Parete ovest (pp.241-242); Annuncio della morte alla Vergine - La Parete sud (pp.283); Il cantiere (pp.284-286); Anna Rosa Nicola, Valentina Parodi - Il restauro (pp.296-301) - et al. A Cistercian poem. Affreschi giotteschi a Chiaravalle Milanese - by Sandrina Bandera - Mondadori Electa, Verona 2010

Manual skills, technology and science in an artisan restoration workshop

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