Sgraffito in Change

Sgraffito decorations are severely threatened in their original form by environmental damage, overpainting, thermal insulation, and wide ignorance. Often only a small part of the original has survived. European cooperation is therefore necessary to deal with the problems of the practical restoration as well as with the lack of appreciation.

The Hornemann Institute promotes a European network for the research of Sgraffito with regard to its materials, techniques, themes, and conservation strategies. The common exchange serves the quality assurance of the restorations of Sgraffito decorations:

  • Decision-makers should be made aware of the cultural-historical significance of Sgraffito decorations as well as the problems of their preservation.
  • The project is intended to advance current research questions on the history of the development of Sgraffito decorations in Europe, including their beginnings in Italy and Spain as well as their further technical development (single-layer, double-layer, mixed techniques, and similar).
  • Scholars with acknowledged expertise from the leading European countries in this area should come together to elaborate concrete solutions for endangered Sgraffito decorations by means of representative case studies.
  • The inventory of sgraffiti should be promoted.

The project title “Sgraffito in Change” has an ambiguous meaning: In one respect, it is about analyzing the material, technical and thematic changes from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century. Another aspect concerns the changes to the preserved Sgraffito decorations that nearly every example of Sgraffito has experienced due to conservation measures over time.

So far there have been two conferences, a third one is planned for 2021 in Segovia:

1) International Conference, 2. - 4. November 2017, HAWK in Hildesheim (DE)

2) International Conference, 21. - 22. November 2019, Schloss Litomyšl (CZ)

Schloss Litomyšl, UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe, 1568-1861 (Foto: Agnete 2014)

Schloss Litomyšl, UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe, 1568-1861 (Foto: Agnete 2014)

In Sgraffito-Technik der Stadtplan von Hildesheim vor der Zerstörung 1945, Foto: Hornemann Institut