Ernesto De Carolis, Francesco Esposito, Diego Ferrara


The custom of attaching paintings to walls with metal elements appears to date back to the Roman period. The fi rst actions taken to reinforce
wall paintings in situ employed methods derived from practical, technical knowledge, based on the artists’ familiarity with the technical artifi ces
“of ancient painters”. Indeed, the practice of using mechanical means to keep painted plaster in place was developed in the seventeenth century
by late Renaissance artists through their observation of ancient Roman techniques. In the Vesuvian area, the reliability and appreciation of this
method to restore wall paintings in situ was confi rmed and legitimated by Francesco La Vega’s decision to adopt it. In this cultural context , the
use of nails or cramps becomes a metaphor for a new restoration method and a new awareness in the conservation of wall paintings, at Pompeii
as well as elsewhere.
Keywords: Restoration, cramp, nineteenth century photographic documentation

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