Dr Stella Panayotova (Keeper of Manuscripts and Printed Books, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge)
Dr Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb (Reader in Applied and Computational Mathematics, Cambridge)
Re-Constructing Illuminated Manuscripts and Paintings
This talk will present recent research undertaken by the speakers in collaboration with Marie D'Autume (École normale supérieure, Cachan), Paola Ricciardi (MINIARE project, Fitzwilliam Museum) and Spike Bucklow (Hamilton Kerr Institute). Two case studies will illustrate the discovery and recovery of medieval and Renaissance images in illuminated manuscripts through the integration of advanced mathematical methods, historical research, art-historical and non-invasive technical analyses. The first case study focuses on a Book of Hours made in Anjou c.1430 and recycled as a second-hand wedding gift in Brittany c.1442. The second case study concerns images of nudity in the c.1505 Primer of Claude de France which were censored in the early modern period. It demonstrates the application of automated virtual image restoration by mathematicians in order to remove the overpainting and restore the images digitally, since current conservation practices do not allow for the actual restoration of illuminations. In a third case study we demonstrate the ability of mathematics to digitally restore the painting Adoration of the Shepherds by Sebastiano Del Piombo (1519). It demonstrates the ability of mathematical restoration techniques to produce a digital restored template of a painting that can potentially aid the art conservators in the physical restoration of it.