On November 30, 2000, the Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic presented its Engineering Academy Prize 2000 to the project team responsible for the restoration and conservation of The Last Judgment mosaic on St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle. The restoration and conservation of the 14th-century glass mosaic was a joint project of the Czech government and the Getty Conservation Institute.

The recipients of the award included Eliska Fucíková of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic; Dusan Stulik and Francesca Piqué of the Getty Conservation Institute; John Mackenzie and Eric Bescher of the Department of Material Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); the Prague Castle Administration; and the conservation team for the mosaic.

The Engineering Academy Prize is awarded annually "to Czech or foreign individuals or teams in recognition of their outstanding work in the field of engineering and for their contributions to the development of engineering research in the Czech Republic." This is the first time that the award has been given to the art conservation field.

In awarding the prize to The Last Judgment mosaic team, the Engineering Academy specifically recognized the team's use of sol-gel technology, a polymer coating originally used by the aerospace and medical industries and adapted by the team to create a multilayer protective coating for the mosaic. This was the first use of the high-tech coating for art conservation purposes. The multilayer coating approach was developed by the GCI, working with UCLA's Department of Material Science and Engineering.

The GCI and the Office of the President of the Czech Republic began collaborating on the conservation of The Last Judgment mosaic in 1992. Located on the south entrance to St. Vitus Cathedral—known as the Golden Gate—The Last Judgment is considered the most significant exterior monumental medieval mosaic north of the Alps. A symposium on the project will be held in Prague in June 2001.

conservation image
Enlarge