Sgraffito in Change

Materials, Techniques, Topics, and Preservation

International conference of the HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen in cooperation with the Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Lower Saxony state service for cultural heritage)

When: 2 – 4  November 2017

Where:  HAWK, Hildesheim, Goschentor 1
Conference languages: German and English
Application deadline: 15 October 2017

Agenda (pdf, 0,5 MB)

Practical information


Booklet with abstracts and CVs (pdf, 2 MB)

Thirty years after the arrival of the first students of mural painting conservation, the HAWK hosted in November 2017 an international conference together with the Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Lower Saxony state service for cultural heritage) on  the topic “Sgraffito in Change - Materials, Techniques, Topics, and Preservation”.

By explaining outstanding case studies and new research findings, the conference was particularly important for restoration scholars, as many unpublished findings had been discussed here. Through its practical orientation, the conference also became a training event for restorers and conservation specialists. Finally, the many presented objects demonstrated the versatility of Sgraffito motifs, techniques and tasks, and encouraged their further cultural-historical research.

After extensive research, specialists from the leading countries in this field were selected for the international exchange (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland and Switzerland). Two keynote lectures outlined the topic: These lectures had the focus on Sgraffito in Europe and beyond (Rafael Ruiz Alonso) and the problems with Sgraffito conservation (Kerstin Klein). The lectures were followed by country-specific or individual examples ranging from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century from the speakers’ home countries. These examples included thoughts on the development and rediscovery of Sgraffito (Thomas Danzl, Ulrich Fritz, Andreas Huth), new research results on material findings (Zuzana Wichterlova), difficult conservation problems (Christiane Maier), and extensive reconstruction efforts (Jan Vojtechovsky). Three lectures were dedicated to the Sgraffito decorations from the reconstruction period after the Second World War (Anneli Ellesat, Anna Kiegseisen, Christoph Schaab).

During the evening lecture, which was open to the public, Dr. Roswitha Kaiser explained preservation practices of Sgraffiti whose purpose was to spread Nazi propaganda.

The workshop offered the opportunity to test the different steps to produce a sgraffito as well as variations in technology and material in practice.

Other colleagues, who despite important new research results were not selected for the international exchange, were invited to participate in the poster session. All posters were presented in a separate session, which gave authors and conference participants the opportunity for discussion. Additionally, all posters will be published in digital form and will receive a DOI in the research portal of the Hornemann Institute.

The conference has been organised in memory of Prof. Dr. Nicole Riedl-Siedow (1971-2017), head of conservation/restoration studies of mural painting/architectural surfaces and acting head of conservation/restoration studies of stone and ceramics.



Photo: Ramirez Montalvo Palace, Florence; ca. 1573 (Rafael Ruiz Alonso); Design: CI/CD Team HAWK