CHAPEL OF THE MANTLE AND OLD SAGRESTIA - SANTA MARIA DELLA SCALA (SIENA)

THE WORK

The Old Sacristy and the Chapel of the Mantle are two painted rooms located inside the complex of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. This was one of the oldest European hospitals established about 1000 years ago which ended its activity in the 70s and was then gradually transformed into a museum center. The walls and vaults of the Old Sacristy are painted with themes from the New and Old Testament from Lorenzo Vecchietta between 1446 and 1449. The Chapel of the Mantle instead, used in the past as a first aid room, is formed by cross vaults and painted by Cristoforo di Bindoccio and Meo di Pero in 1370.

THE PROBLEMS OF RESTORATION

The wall paintings of both rooms were completely covered with layers of limewash and varnish applied in the past. – The traditional techniques of chemical and mechanical type had not given satisfactory results in removing the unwanted layers so the restorers turned to the use, in this case, pioneering, of the laser.

THE LASER

After having tested and verified the behaviors of various laser systems in an analytical way on the different polychromies that made up the decoration, two operating modes were chosen: a Short Free Running and Long Q-switching. The SFR mode was used for the removal of the limewash. Subsequently the LQS mode was used for the reduction / removal of both the remains of limewash left after the first laser treatment, and of organic deposits.

Client: Work of Santa Maria della Scala (SI), BSAE Superintendency for the provinces of Siena and Grosseto

Restorer: Anna Brunetto

 

A. Brunetto Et Alii,  Rimozione Di Scialbature Sui Dipinti Murali Della Cappella Del Manto In Santa Maria Della Scala A Siena, In Atti Aplar 2,  Siena 4 Luglio 2008, A Cura Di Brunetto A., Ed. Il Prato, 2009, Pp 55-68.

Siano S. Et Alii, Integration Of Laser Ablation Techniques For Cleaning The Wall Paintings Of The Sagrestia Vecchia And Cappella Del Manto In Santa Maria Della Scala, Siena, In: Lacona Vi Proceedings, Vienna, Austria, Sept. 21–25, 2005, Nimmrichter J., Kautek W., Schreiner M. (Eds). Springer Proceedings In Physics, Vol 116. Springer -verlag Berlin, Heidelberg (2007), Pp. 191-201.