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The Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine is the world's oldest continuously operating Christian monastery. Commissioned by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in the sixth century, it contains works of art and historic documents of tremendous beauty and importance including icons, wall paintings, and mosaics. One of the most famous of these is the Transfiguration mosaic, a jewel of early Byzantine art, located in the apse over the high altar in the monastery's basilica.

Over the centuries, the Transfiguration has suffered extensive damage from earthquakes and intense visitation by pilgrims from all corners of the world. The Center for Archaeological Conservation (CCA), in Rome, has recently completed a five-year project to conserve this priceless mosaic.

On April 14, 2011 conservator and archaeologist Roberto Nardi, founder of CCA, recounted the steps taken to conserve and safeguard this iconic work or art.



About the Speaker

Roberto Nardi received degrees in archaeology from the University of Rome, and in the conservation of archaeological materials from the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro, Rome. In 1982 he founded the Centro di Conservazione Archeologica, a private company carrying out public commissions in the conservation of ancient monuments and archaeological sites, including the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Temple of Vespasian in the Roman Forum, the Roman site of Zeugma, Turkey, mural paintings of the Madrasa Amiriya in Yemen, and the mosaic of Saint Catherine in Sinai. Nardi is a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation, vice president of the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics, and the Kress Lecturer at the American Institute of Archaeology for 2010—2011.

Last updated: March 2014