Dell Agostino, Veronica:

The Study of Medieval Fresco Fragments: The Case of San Pietro al Monte in Civate

Several art historians have dealt with medieval fresco fragments, but what is the current situation regarding the research methodology in this field of study? The aim of this paper is to investigate the medieval fresco fragments found during the archaeological excavations of the ancient crypt of San Pietro al Monte in Civate (Lecco, North Italy) as a case of study. These fresco fragments are now in the “Soprintendenza Archeologia della Lombardia” in Milan and are the object of my PhD research project. Among the fragments analyzed and partially recomposed so far, there are examples of human and animal figures as well as of ornamental paintings, that most likely reflect the richness of the decoration of the previous church, completely destroyed and rebuilt in the second half of the 11th century. The investigation of these fresco fragments will allow us to further understand the different phases of study involved in this kind of research. Because of the nature of the fresco fragments, the study requires both an archaeological and an art-historical approach, taking into account also the restoration and conservation aspects as well as the scientific analysis of the materials, such as pigments and mortars. The paper will concentrate on the reconstruction methodology, considering different types of reassembling techniques, and will show how an accurate cataloguing of the fresco fragments might help to reveal an unknown decoration program, providing new information about a destroyed building.

Veronica Dell’Agostino studied at the University of Milan and at Sapienza University of Rome, where she is currently attending a PhD program in Medieval Art History, under the direction of professor Alessandra Guiglia. Her main interests are Lombard mural painting, especially between the 10th and the 12th centuries, and Italian book illumination.