Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPIFICIO)

The Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPIFICIO) is a Central Institute of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism (MiBACT) founded in 1588 by the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici. The institute combines a long and distinguished tradition with a modern and articulate structure. It is based in Florence but serves all of Italy either as in-situ workshops or as advisory services. The Institute is one of the leading conservation and research laboratories in the world. It employs restorers, art historians, archaeologists as well as conservation scientists. The OPIFICIO runs a graduate School for conservators, open to European citizens and foreigners. The OPIFICIO has responsibility at a national level for the safeguarding and conservation of cultural heritage. Among the most recent restorations and relevant scientific studies carried out by the OPIFICIO are the Rosano Crucifix (sec. XII); Agnolo Gaddi’s frescoes in the S. Croce Basilica in Florenc; the marble statues from the church of Orsanmichele in Florence; the Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael, Uffizi Gallery, Florence; the sculptural relief of the St. Petronio Basilica, in Bologna; the child St. John the Baptist, by Michelangelo, from the church of Ubada (Spain); Adoration of the Magi by Leonardo da Vinci, Uffizi Gallery; the mural painting in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, by Leonardo da Vinci, and other masterpieces by Botticelli, Beato Angelico, Antonello da Messina, Bronzino, Piero della Francesca and others. The OPIFICIO provides studies, conservation and restoration treatments of works of art related to its operative departments (Conservation Laboratories): easel paintings, mural paintings, stuccoes, pottery and ceramics, stone and marble, semiprecious inlaid stones and mosaics, goldsmithery and jewellery, drawings, works on parchment and prints, bronzes, textiles, tapestries, painted wood sculptures. The interaction among arthistorians, conservators and conservation scientists, which is a key point in the OPIFICIO activity, will be essential in the development of the SCAN4Reco project to drive the application of the proposed techniques towards a better understanding of the meaning of artworks and their behavior over time.

The SCAN4Reco project will be developed by the Scientific Laboratory of the OPIFICIO in collaboration with the Bronze Conservation Laboratory. The Scientific Laboratory has participated in some research project funded by the European Commission (EU ARTECHAccess, Research and Tecnology for the conservation of the European Cultural Heritage (EU FP6), CHARISMACultural Heritage Advanced Research Infrastructures, Synergy for a Multisciplinary Approach to Conservation/Restoration (EU FP7)). It also took part in several projects funded
by Tuscany Region (TDT Bioart, TECON@BC, START, PRIMARTE). The OPIFICIO Scientific Laboratory staff includes 7 permanent among chemists, physicist and biologists along with personnel under temporary contracts. Over more than 20 years of activity, the OPIFICIO Scientific Laboratory gained experience in diagnostics, development and testing of new treatments as well as monitoring of the artefacts surface. The Bronze Conservation Laboratory includes in its permanent staff one director and two conservators. They have been running world class conservation projects, the most renewed one being the intervention on the Porta del Paradiso by Lorenzo Ghiberti from the Florence’s Baptistery. Recently, they have moved toward the conservation of outdoors contemporary metal sculptures.