Sgraffito in Change

Materials, Techniques, Topics, and Preservation

International conference of the HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen in cooperation with the Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Lower Saxony state service for cultural heritage)

When: 2 – 4  November 2017

Where:  HAWK, Hildesheim, Goschentor 1
Conference languages: German and English
Application deadline: 15 October 2017

Agenda (pdf, 0,5 MB)

Practical information

Abstracts

Booklet with abstracts and CVs (pdf, 2 MB)

Registration

Thirty years after the arrival of the first students of mural painting conservation, the HAWK hosted in November 2017 an international conference together with the Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Lower Saxony state service for cultural heritage) on  the topic “Sgraffito in Change - Materials, Techniques, Topics, and Preservation”.

Sgraffito decorations are severely threatened in their original form by environmental damage, overpainting, thermal insulation, and wide ignorance. Often only a small part of the original has survived. European cooperation is therefore necessary to deal with the problems of the practical restoration as well as with the lack of appreciation.

The conference title “Sgraffito in Change” had an ambiguous meaning. In one respect, it was about analyzing the material, technical and thematic changes from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century. Another aspect concerned the changes to the preserved Sgraffito decorations that nearly every example of Sgraffito had experienced due to conservation measures over time.

The conference pursued several objectives:
-    For the first time, scholars with acknowledged expertise from the leading European countries in this area came together to elaborate concrete solutions for endangered Sgraffito decorations by means of representative case studies.
-    In addition, decision-makers should be made aware of the importance of the qualified preservation of Sgraffito decorations by highlighting the diversity of materials, techniques, and topics involved in Sgraffito decorations as well as their cultural-historical significance.
-    For the long term, the organizers wanted to initiate a network that establishes a joint exchange for the purpose of quality assurance in the conservation of Sgraffito decorations.

By explaining outstanding case studies and new research findings, the conference was particularly important for restoration scholars, as many unpublished findings had been discussed here. Through its practical orientation, the conference also became a training event for restorers and conservation specialists. Finally, the many presented objects demonstrated the versatility of Sgraffito motifs, techniques and tasks, and encouraged their further cultural-historical research.

After extensive research, specialists from the leading countries in this field were selected for the international exchange (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland and Switzerland). Two keynote lectures outlined the topic: These lectures had the focus on Sgraffito in Europe and beyond (Rafael Ruiz Alonso) and the problems with Sgraffito conservation (Kerstin Klein). The lectures were followed by country-specific or individual examples ranging from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century from the speakers’ home countries. These examples included thoughts on the development and rediscovery of Sgraffito (Thomas Danzl, Ulrich Fritz, Andreas Huth), new research results on material findings (Zuzana Wichterlova), difficult conservation problems (Christiane Maier), and extensive reconstruction efforts (Jan Vojtechovsky). Three lectures were dedicated to the Sgraffito decorations from the reconstruction period after the Second World War (Anneli Ellesat, Anna Kiegseisen, Christoph Schaab).

During the evening lecture, which was open to the public, Dr. Roswitha Kaiser explained preservation practices of Sgraffiti whose purpose was to spread Nazi propaganda.

The workshop offered the opportunity to test the different steps to produce a sgraffito as well as variations in technology and material in practice.

Other colleagues, who despite important new research results were not selected for the international exchange, were invited to participate in the poster session. All posters were presented in a separate session, which gave authors and conference participants the opportunity for discussion. Additionally, all posters will be published in digital form and will receive a DOI in the research portal of the Hornemann Institute.

The conference has been organised in memory of Prof. Dr. Nicole Riedl-Siedow (1971-2017), head of conservation/restoration studies of mural painting/architectural surfaces and acting head of conservation/restoration studies of stone and ceramics.

 

 

Schloß Litomyšl, UNESCO_Weltkulturerbe, 1568-1681, Photo: Agnete 2014

Photo: Ramirez Montalvo Palace, Florence; ca. 1573 (Rafael Ruiz Alonso); Design: CI/CD Team HAWK

Schloß Litomyšl, UNESCO_Weltkulturerbe, 1568-1681, Photo: Agnete 2014

The map of Hildesheim before the destruction in 1945 in sgraffito-technique; photo: Hornemann Institute