Organic Materials in Wall Paintings

Project Report

Edited by Francesca Piqué and Giovanni Verri; 2015

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In 2003, the Getty Conservation Institute partnered with a number of research groups to create the Organic Materials in Wall Paintings (OMWP) project. Its purpose was to enhance scientific support for the conservation of wall paintings by evaluating various investigative techniques and assessing their potential and limitations for the identification of organic materials in lime-based wall paintings.

For the assessment of investigative techniques, the OMWP project used a set of wall painting replicas selected from among hundreds made by Leonetto Tintori (1908–2000) at the Laboratorio per Affresco di Vainella (LAV), near Prato, Italy. Each OMWP partner laboratory evaluated one or more analytical techniques used on the Tintori replicas. The project team then set about developing an investigation methodology, starting with approaches not requiring sampling (noninvasive), followed by investigations that required removal of material (invasive). Evaluation of the techniques was carried out by assessing both the level of information a particular method would provide and the accuracy/repeatability of the result.

The OMWP project concluded in 2010, and this project report summarizes the results of the collaboration. It is divided into three parts: Project Overview, Techniques Used for Identification of Organic Materials, and Research Results; and two appendices.

Appendix 1 includes a link to download a sample of the wall paintings replica database. The database sample includes technical images of twenty-two Tintori replicas selected for the project along with a visual overview of each of the samples studied as part of the project. Appendix 2 includes a link to download a sample data set for one of the replicas studied.