Consorzio Interuniversitario per lo sviluppo dei Sistemi a Grande Interfase
Center for Colloid and Surface Science



Prof. Enzo Ferroni (1921-2007), co-founder of CSGI, was one of the first scientists to apply a scientific approach to the conservation of cultural heritage. After the catastrophic flood of the river Arno that hit Florence in 1966, Ferroni began to collaborate with restorers and conservators, using his background in physical chemistry to help them saving some of the masterpieces of Italian Art. CSGI was the first research institutes to recognize the potential of applying nanoscience and colloids to art conservation and created an extended network with conservation centers and academic institutions worldwide. In the last fifteen years, CSGI has been involved in several research project related to the conservation of works of art, and directly coordinated three European projects devoted to the preservation of art using nanotechnology, i.e. FP7 NANOFORART, H2020 NANORESTART and H2020 APACHE. The main activity of CSGI in this field is related to the development, characterization and assessment of novel materials for art conservation, which borrows fundamental concepts from colloids science, in order to answer to the main and most challenging issues that modern restorers have to face. Advanced and functional materials such as nanoparticles, microemulsions, and gels have been designed, produced and assessed responding to the needs of conservators. These systems are used to consolidate fragile artistic surfaces, remove soil or aged varnishes/adhesives, adjust pH, and overall remedy the degradation processes that inevitably jeopardize Cultural Heritage objects. The systems developed at CSGI have been successfully applied to preserve works by Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, among others. Some of the products developed by CSGI are commercially available to end users on a dedicated website.

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