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The Wall Paintings of the Monumental Cemetery of Pisa: The War, the Restoration, the Conservation

The Monumental Cemetery of Pisa is located alongside the Leaning Tower, in Piazza dei Miracoli (Pisa, Italy); its construction began in 1278. The building is like a courtyard, in which the central area is surrounded by passageways, connected though arches and four-lancet windows. A total of 1500 square meters of the passageways were painted by the most famous painters of the 14th and 15th centuries: Francesco Traini, Buonamico Buffalmacco, Taddeo Gaddi, Andrea da Firenze, Antonio Veneziano, Spinello Aretino, Piero di Puccio and Benozzo Gozzoli. The paintings were damaged by salt recrystallizations and patina formations, and have been subjected to several restorations since the 18th century. During the Second World War, an incendiary bomb exploded in the cemetery. The result was the devastation, partial collapse and in particular the charring of a vast area of frescoes. By the end of the 1950s, most of the paintings had been stripped off the walls and fixed on asbestos cement panels using mainly calcium caseinate as an adhesive. In the 1980s, new degradation phenomena appeared mainly in the paintings relocated in the galleries, and a new restoration was necessary. This chapter deals with an overview of the protocols designed to monitor the physical–chemical condition of the paintings and calibrate the timing and method of planned maintenance or, whenever necessary, perform specific actions to preserve the works of art.

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Print publication date
14 Aug 2014
Copyright year
Print ISBN
ePub eISBN