Special Issue "Study and Characterization of Paintings: Materials, Artistic Techniques, and Conservation"

A special issue of Heritage (ISSN 2571-9408). This special issue belongs to the section "Artistic Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Valeria Di Tullio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Italian National Council of Research (ISB-CNR), Via Salaria km.29,300, Area of Research Rome1, 00016 Montelibretti (Rome), Italy
Interests: paintings; natural and artificial lapideous materials; wood and cellulose; spectroscopy; nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR); artistic techniques; degradation phenomena; restoration products
Dr. Brenda Doherty
Guest Editor
Italian National Research Council (CNR) Institute of Chemical Sciences and Technologies “Giulio Natta” (SCITEC), via Elce di Sotto 8, Perugia, Italy
Interests: vibrational spectroscopy; surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy; organic colorants and pigments; natural and synthetic dyes; in-situ analyses

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since ancient times, painting have been the most widespread form of man’s creative expression. Using a wide range of materials and complex techniques, painted artworks are an important historical and cultural testament that needs to be recognized and preserved for future generations.

The study of painting techniques, degradation processes, and restoration practices is, by nature, a multidisciplinary area of study, combining research in science, conservation, and art history as well as specific knowledge in painting manufacturing. Heritage science is increasingly indispensable in widening the attention given to all the aspects that affect the life of an artwork; in understanding the changing boundaries and interactions between its historical, aesthetic, and material value; as well in evaluating the interactions with the environmental conditions and planning the intervention of restoration.

Information about all these aspects can be gained by the analysis of the chemical and physical properties of the materials found in paintings in combination with the historical information reported in documentary sources and incorporated in the examination of individual paintings. When looking at numerous art objects, we can see that no two objects are really the same. Thus, a main aim of heritage science is to understand why each individual heritage object is so incredibly unique, not just because of its recognized value, but also because the manufacturing of and materials in each individual object are slightly different, and why they all degrade so differently.

This Special Issue aims to show a wide selection of contributions in the study of paintings as well as recent points of view to promote a greater understanding of the inherent complexity of paintings and stimulate innovative questions and discussions on this topic.

We welcome multidisciplinary collaborative studies and review manuscripts discussing different approaches to studying painting across a different combinations of artistic techniques, restoration practices, and material characterization, including both case studies and mock-ups. We also welcome manuscripts on the following selected topics:

  • The characterization, degradation, and restoration of painting supports such as wood, canvas, paper, parchment, plaster, and pottery.
  • The stratigraphy of painted artworks, artistic techniques, and restoration issues, and new techniques of analysis.
  • Degradation processes and the conservation of natural and synthetic organic binders, and their interaction with pigment particles.
  • Restoration issues, including varnishing and cleaning practices in paintings. Additionally, the history of, experimentation with, and evaluation of restoration products, as well as new perspectives of study.
  • Study of moisture and temperature in indoor and semiconfined environments for the collection care of paintings.
  • Ancient recipes and restoration practices and their impact on painting conservation.
  • Art history and materials science in studying the style and masterpieces of artists, artistic currents, and movements.

Dr. Valeria Di Tullio
Dr. Brenda Doherty
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Heritage is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Paintings
  • Restoration
  • Chemistry
  • Art history
  • Material science
  • Painted artworks
  • Environment
  • Analytical chemistry

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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