Art diagnostician and Friends of SACI member Maurizio Seracini lectures about Florence’s Baptistery

The Baptistery of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy

The Baptistery of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy

Art diagnostician and Friends of SACI member Maurizio Seracini recently presented interesting findings at an international conference regarding the Baptistery in Florence. Held on November 24 and 25, 2014, the conference was organized by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore with the intent of providing a better understanding of the origins and structure of the Baptistery, as well as important information regarding its state of conservation.

Prof. Maurizio Seracini lecturing at Florence's Baptistery

Prof. Maurizio Seracini lecturing on Florence’s Baptistery

Prof. Seracini described how georadar investigations on the floor of the Baptistery, in areas not previously studied, revealed the presence of a large circular structure, approximately 85 centimeters below the floor, on the side where Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise are located.

He uses multispectral imaging techniques and the concept of a clinical chart (similar to those used in medicine) to record the state of conservation of architectural monuments, while creating the basis for new diagnostic and conservation strategies.

This type of study of the underlying layers of the Baptistery enables scholars and conservators to understand the origins of the Baptistery, including its Roman foundations, the transformations undergone over the centuries, and vital information regarding its state of conservation (e.g. the degree of adhesion of the tiles that decorate it).

Detail of Santa Caterina mosaic on the Baptistery ceiling

Detail of Santa Caterina mosaic on the Baptistery ceiling

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Late Spring & Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, Post-Bac in Studio Art; MFA in Studio Art, MFA in Photography, MFA in Communication Design, Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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