Prof. Baglioni’s Webinar: Soft matter and cultural heritage

We are pleased to announce that the Webinar “Application of soft matter to the conservation of cultural heritage” as presented by Professor Piero Baglioni, University of Florence, is now available as a video recording.

Art conservation poses a significant and exciting challenge to soft matter-colloid scientists in two respects. Firstly, the majority of the best performing and environmentally safe cleaning and consolidation agents for artworks are soft matter systems. Secondly, the interaction of these agents with an artifact involves an exceptionally complicated range of interfacial interactions. The surfaces of works of art interact with the environment and are prone to aging and decay. Accordingly, soiling is a primary factor in their degradation as chemical and mechanical degradation often follow, and negatively impact the aesthetics of a surface. The effects of these processes are usually strongly amplified in the presence of protective coatings (mainly acrylic and vinyl polymers), applied in past restoration treatments. We pioneered the synthesis and the application of several advanced systems for the consolidation and the cleaning of works of art, as hydroxides nanoparticles, microemulsions and chemical gels. These systems mark a paradigm shift in modern conservation and have been used on classic, modern and contemporary artifacts as wall paintings of Beato Angelico, Piero della Francesca, or on modern and contemporary art paintings as paintings by Picasso, Lichtenstein, Pollock, de Chirico etc.

The webinar summarizes the main progress and ponders on future perspectives, focusing on the recently developed twin-chain polymer hydrogels based on poly(vinyl alcohol), currently the most advanced tool for the cleaning of modern and contemporary art.

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