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Summer Art Restoration Workshops in Italy

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Messors Workshops - Cultural Heritage Preservation and Restoration in Italy:
Messors Workshops is offering summer Art Restoration Workshops on Fresco and Fine Arts, based in the rich cultural and historical setting of Altamura and Gravina in Puglia (Apulia) region of Southern Italy. We are located in the province of Bari, 45 km / 27 miles south-west of Bari, close to the border with Basilicata. The Frescoes are part of the rupestrian settlements (underground habitations) based in the Alta Murgia area in the Puglia region of Italy. Wood Statue and Canvases are provided by local churches and private collections.

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Art Restoration Programs Summer 2018:
Photo of Summer Art Restoration Workshops in Italy
*Fine Art Preservation and Restoration:

Through discussion and guided tour, participants will be introduced to examples of 17th to 19th centuries paintings that are unique to the history of the Altamurgia region.

Participants will then be given hands on opportunity to immerse themselves in the techniques and processes of their restoration and preservation under the guidance of instructors.

The research and the restoration work will take place within the lab set next to the residence. The participant’s work will result in a direct contribution to a citywide exhibition of the statues and paintings.

Program Contents:
- Overview of the historical eras (prehistoric, Roman, medieval, modern) and their related artistic currents.
- Introduction to the history of Italian art and, specifically, the arts in the Alta Murgia region.
- Iconography.
- Physics and chemistry as they are applied during the scientific research and restoration processes.
- Techniques of documenting the research: writing reports, photo and video documentation
- Preliminary techniques in the conservation process.
- Analysis of the pictorial pigments and structures
- Common types of degradation and alteration in wood works and canvases.
- Planning restoration and conservation projects.
- Laboratory: practical restoration work.

Course Field Trips:

- Walking tour in Altamura
- Park of the rupestral churches of Matera and the Museum of Art Palazzo Lanfranchi
- Pinacoteca della Provincia di Bari.
- Civic museum foundation "E Pomarici – Santomasi" at Gravina in Puglia
- One day trip to the baroque city of Lecce.
- A day trip to the beach for a break and fun

* Fresco Preservation and Restoration:
First, discussions will be held on the current state of frescoes conservation located in the unImage of Summer Art Restoration Workshops in Italyderground caves in the Alta Murgia. Secondly, students will participate in an ongoing program of fresco restoration. These frescoes are part of the rupestral settlements which include the masseria ("farmhouse") of Jesce, the Masseria of Carpentino, the Masseria of Fornello, the Crypt of San Michele delle Grotte, and Grotta dell' Angelo from the 14th to 16th century.

Participants will be involved in the process of the creation of their own fresco in the labs.

Participants will also review the completed and restored works by 'Sinergie': 17th century wood statues used in Religious processions, decorative paintings and stone reliefs of Francis Ford Coppola's Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda, exterior and interior frescoes, paintings in both private collections and that of the church. 

The courses provide a practical focus, allowing students ample opportunity for participation in restoration technique., and are complimented by seminars in Art History, Geomorphological Studies and Religious Iconography and Rituals.

Program Contents:
- Introduction of the geomorphologic and natural geographic conformation of the region.
- Overview of the historical eras (prehistoric, Roman, medieval, modern) and their artistic currents.
- General introduction to the history of Italian art and specifically, the arts in the Alta Murgia region.
- Iconography.
- The origins of the frescos.
- Physics and chemistry as they are applied during the scientific research and restoration processes.
- Practical application of the techniques used in creating the frescoes.
- Preliminary techniques in the conservation process.
- Analysis of natural stone materials of an artwork.
- Analysis of the pictorial pigments used in the frescoes.
- Common types of fresco degradation and alteration.
- Planning restoration and conservation projects.

Course Field Trips:
- Walking tour of Altamura.
- Park of the rupestral churches of Matera.
- Circuit of the rupestral churches of Mottola.
- Civic museum foundation "E Pomarici – Santomasi" at Gravina in Puglia.
-Trip to Pompeii and Naples
- Day trip to the beach for a break and fun

July 23-August 3, 2018
Fieldwork, study, research and hands-on cultural landscape conservation and restoration.

Fornello is a site made up of a Byzantine fresco cave, twelve additional cave dwellings, and evidence of a settlement dating back to the 3rd century B.C.

The ancient settlement includes a shepherd’s house that dates to the 1700s and dry-stone courtyards that outline a pre-existing sheep farm. It is one of the most interesting and historically important sites in the Murgia region of Puglia. The frescoes are comprised of three layers that date to 1100, 1200, and 1350. The fresco paintings document a link and a time in history when Byzantine communities spreading from the Balkans were establishing themselves in Puglia in the rupestrian settlement.

Program Contents

The Fornello Sustainable Preservation Project focuses on the site in its early days of research and cultural landscape conservation. The program is an opportunity to experience and learn a wide spectrum of elements and aspects involved in cultural heritage preservation. The workshop also stimulates conversations and ideas around sustainable preservation, aiming towards a positive impact of these programs on local communities.

Throughout the course of the 2018 workshop session, we will work to:

 - archaeological investigation and documentation of the areas an the features of the site subject to restoration and/or reconstruction work
 - stabilize cave entrances and the natural skylights made by the original inhabitants of the rupestrian site of Fornello using natural material as tufa blocks and lime base mortar; 
 - build the wood shelves and the door of the cheese ageing cave;
 - reconstruct and restore the dry-stone-wall of the site;
 - introduction to the practices of fresco restoration and the history of Byzantine frescoes;
 - clear caves and landscape of brush and rock debris.

During the sessions, participants will be given instruction on archaeological methods, techniques, and documentation while operating in a historical site.
On-site activities are essential to the conservation plan and integrate the local shepherds’ community sharing their knowledge and expertise of cheese making.
The workshop includes excursions and visits to historical sites, town and museums of the region to learn and understand the local history and culture.
Lectures, demos, and guided visits are conducted in English and guest lecturers may be translated into English.

CULINARY&SHEPHERDING - Harvesting Food Through History

Picture of Summer Art Restoration Workshops in ItalyAugust 27 – September 3, 2018

Culinary & Shepherding: Harvesting Food through History. Cooking, eating and meeting its makers, the daily life of a shepherd.

Anthropology of Food and Life Style: The Rhythms and the Connections between Food, Culture and Landscape

The venerated cuisine of the Mediterranean has been created and re-created through the course of history by geography, social customs, migration and the mythical and religious universe wrapped around "eating". The Mediterranean diet is inclusive of "lifestyle" which upholds traditional methods of farming and fishing and nurtures the practice of family meals, and celebration.

Through hands-on activities, cooking, excursions, discussions and lectures, our workshop celPhotos of Messors Workshops - Cultural Heritage Preservation and Restoration in Italyebrates and promotes to preserve the culture, ingredients, production, and cooking methods of the "diet" deeply rooted in its predominantly Greek and Roman origins.

The workshop is led by Tonio Creanza, the Founder and Director of Messors, a native of Puglia, along with his colleagues of local farmers, cheese makers, shepherds, historians, restauranteurs, etc.
Through talks and discussion on Anthropology of Food and Life Style, the workshop will encompass the sustainability of the resources, the biodiversity and the societal changes, and the current debate on the need to implement a sustainable way of life.

Participants are involved in the “food journey” to learn and understand the rhythms and the connections expressed by food: the seasonality, the social tempo of a weekly stImages of Messors Workshops - Cultural Heritage Preservation and Restoration in Italyructured diet; the pace dictated by yeast rising in bread dough, or the time it takes to make cheese from basic ingredients.

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Address: Altamura (Bari), Puglia, Italy
Some interested visitors submitting program inquiries to our school up to 2018-08-01 were from:

Casper, USA;   Durban, South Africa;   Geneva, Switzerland;   Solihull, UK & England;   Wisconsin, USA;   Yerevan, Armenia;   USA;   Frankfurt, Germany;   and more.
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