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The Art and Industry of Stucco Decoration
Stucco decoration has been traditionally studied considering its formal and artistic qualities. Despite much research and numerous publications have explored the works of the stuccatori and their cultural context, there has been little attention on the ‘art and industry’ of these artists, and on how their practical and technical ‘know-how’ contributed to the great professional and artistic success that they enjoyed. Many stucco decorations all over Europe have been realized by masters coming from the region between Lombardy and Ticino and their working methods spread all over Europe.

This international conference aims at examining the techniques and the artistic processes with which stucco decoration has been realized in different European countries from the 16th to the 17th Century, by foreign or by local masters. Stucco is very versatile and composite artwork, it can be executed using different materials and production methods according to what is available on site and the ability of the masters to manipulate the mortar. The conference will examine this and other related topics with an interdisciplinary approach, considering art and social history, technical art history, material science as subjects of enquiry.

Some of the key question that will be assessed are: the role of stucco makers in the design of decorative schemes, materials used to create stucco decoration (relationship between their provenance, technical characteristic and working properties), artistic techniques used to create stucco decoration (supporting structures, coarse and fine layers, polishing).
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