Conservation Symposium & Exhibition: "Paintings out of Jail"

From 04-09-2016 To 04-09-2016

Conservation Symposium & Exhibition:

Paintings out of Jail - The Elba Project

Saturday, April 9, 10am - 6pm

Symposium & SACI Gallery Exhibition (in Palazzo dei Cartelloni) on the historical, technical, and conservation research related to the restoration by SACI Conservation students and instructors of Baroque paintings from the Chiesa del San Giacomo al Forte in Porto Azzurro, Elba, which is today within the fort’s jail complex. This project was made possible by support from the Soprintendenza Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the Provinces of Pisa and Livorno. The paintings will be on view on April 9 only.

Historical Notes on the Project

The history of the town of Porto Azzurro on Elba Island is intimately linked to that of the Spanish crown and the State of Presidi.

Until 1947, the town was named Porto Longone after the first Beneventan fort. This fort, a project of King Phillip III built in 1603, was a bastion of the Spanish Empire’s fortified Tyrrhenian Sea marine system.

Settled in a coastal area linking Naples to Elba that was connected by Argentario forts, it served as a key strategic point for defense against pirates from the south and the French fleet from north.

In 1635, inside the walls of the village inhabited by the troops, the fort’s Saint James Church was erected. Its name derives from the apostle Saint James the Greater, who sought to convert pagans to Christianity in the Spanish peninsula.

The paintings within the Church are in the style of the Masters of the Florentine schools of the 17th and 18th centuries. It appears that they were donations from the Court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Some may have been commissioned by the Governors of the fort, where a number were buried.

All are on sacred subjects. They celebrate the devoted lives of Dominican and Franciscan saints in ways consistent with traditional representations that arose after the Council of Trent.

The Church, which is today within the fort’s jail, was terribly damaged during a prison rebellion in 1987. Since then, the paintings have suffered further from neglect and improper care.

The Superintendence of Pisa and Studio Art Centers International (SACI) have collaborated to restore and return to the public the first four of eleven paintings from the Church.

The structural intervention and cleaning of the paintings have provided us with this initial opportunity for identification and critical analysis of these works. 

The paintings, which are at the mid-stage of restoration, will be exhibited on April 9 only in the SACI Gallery from 10 am to 6 pm.

Symposium Program

10.00 - Steven Brittan, SACI President
10.20 - Andrea Muzzi, Pisa Superintendent
10.40 - Francesco D’Anselmo, Director of Porto Azzurro Garrison

11.00 - Amedeo Mercurio, Superintendence of  Pisa,  Il progetto. Cronaca di un salvataggio in extremis
12.00 - Roberta Lapucci, SACI, Il programma iconografico della Chiesa di San Giacomo al forte
13 - 14.30 - Lunch Break

14.30 - Alice Parri, SACI, The Restoration Procedure & Technical Data Related to the Paintings 
14.50 - Emanuela Massa, Art Test, Analisi diagnostiche delle quattro tele di Porto Azzurro
15.00 - Monique Ferneyhough, Tanya Richards, SACI, Large-size Format Lining
15.20 - Kimberly Roche, Emily Day, SACI, Resizing the Painting
15.40 - Eileen Conlon, Reed Hudson, SACI, The Importance of “Prima Tela”
16.00 - Andres Zighelboim, Lauren Sewell, SACI, An Aesthetic Problem: Filling the “Lacuna”
16.20 - Round Table
17.00 - Symposium Ends

 Download the Program in English/Italian


Watch the interview of Roberta Lapucci (in Italian) in the SACI Gallery on the local RTV38 news: Dipinti Fuori dal Carcere


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Palazzo dei Cartelloni
Via Sant'Antonino, 11
50123 Firenze, Italy
T 055 289 948

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Saturday & Sunday 1pm-7pm

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