ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


20 October 2023
Belle van Zuylenzaal, Academiegebouw, Utrecht

Brill-Nuncius seminar on October 20 2023: Histories of Conservation Science and Scientific Conservation after World War II

Organisation: Sven Dupré and Esther van Duijn

Date: 20 October 2023

Location: Belle van Zuylen Room, Academiegebouw (Utrecht University), Dom Square, Utrecht

This seminar focuses on the disciplinary formation of conservation science and scientific conservation in the post-World War II period. The seminar considers the post-World War II – period up to the 1970s when some conservation theorists, confronted with the processual and intangible aspects of contemporary art, questioned the dominance of conservation science and the principles of scientific conservation. The focus of the seminar is on diverse actors, including scientists and science policymakers, collectors and conservators, museum professionals and administrators, and the institutional contexts in which these actors operated (e.g. museums, universities, laboratories, conservation studios).

This seminar is funded by the Descartes Centre (Utrecht University), Brill Publishers and NICAS.

Below you will find the full programme of the seminar. If you want to participate in the seminar, please register via Please note that seats are limited to 60 participants: as such, we ask you to only register if you definitely intend to come, and to contact us if you are no longer able to make it. Both in-person and online attendance are possible.

For any questions or other info, e-mail us at:


The abstracts for the seminar can be found below:

Thierry Ford
A Scandinavian Awakening : the Emergence of Science in Conservation at the National
Gallery in Oslo (1956-1974): Abstract_Thierry Ford

Ana Gonzalez Mozo
The Role of the Trustees and the Direction of the Museo del Prado in Guiding Restorations and Scientific Studies between 1940 and 1970 Abstract_Ana Gonzalez Mozo

Angela Cerasuolo
The Founding of the Capodimonte Museum in 1957 and the Creation of its Conservation Laboratory: Scientific Conservation and Restoration in Naples in the Context of Post-war Italy Abstract_Angela Cerasuolo

Leib Celnik
The Smithsonian Institution and the Rise of the American Conservation Laboratory After World War II Abstract_Leib Celnik

Hero Lotti
The Foundation of the International Institute for the Conservation of Museum Objects (IIC) and the Fight for Scientific Conservation Abstract_Hero Lotti

Marco Cardinali
X-ray Imaging Techniques and the Quest for Reliable Insight into Paintings Abstract_Marco Cardinali

Noémie Étienne
Global Conservation: Missing Histories of Care Abstract_Noémie Etienne

Aga Wielocha
Art in Flux: Towards the Future of Conservation Abstract_Aga Wielocha