Wood Science and Technology III:

methods to examine panel paintings and their preventive and remedial conservation



Thursday - Saturday, October 19-20-21, 2023

Venue: Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Co-organized by: SRAL - The Conservation Institute (The Netherlands),     S-MA-C-H (France), and the University of Florence (Italy).



Wood Science and Technology III follows on from the 2014 and 2016 symposia organized by SRAL:

The 2014 symposium involved several invited guest speakers as part of the Panel Painting Initiative supported by the Getty Foundation. The audience consisted solely of the Panel Painting Initiative trainees. Fourteen presentations were given over two days highlighting current trends on the structure of wood, dating wood, rheology of wood, degradation and consolidation, as well as modeling and prevention.

The 2016 symposium involved fifteen presentations and posters, as well as pitches from three sponsors, given over two days. The presentations focused on a single theme of microclimates for panel paintings.


The 2023 symposium focus is on the hygro-mechanical behavior of panel paintings and how to use this information for preservation and remedial (structural) conservation. Furthermore, methods in examining and modeling the behavior and treatment of panel paintings and related objects will be discussed.


Wood of different species is used in Europe to construct panel painting supports. Construction techniques differ according to the geographical region, periods, workshops and artistic practice. Conservation of wooden supports also differs according to contemporary practice and regional influences. However, wooden supports of all wood types are subjected to environmental conditions, which include fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity. It is well known that changes of these conditions have a dimensional impact on the wood fibers, which may cause deformations and tensions to build up, especially in restrained or multifaceted artworks. Damage may result from a release of these tensions, which is often shown as splits in the boards or opening of joins.


The complex dynamic of panel paintings in environmental conditions is dependent on a number of factors and is the focus of ongoing research. This symposium aims to showcase latest research in the hygro-mechanical dynamics of wood as used as panel painting supports, its causes and effects on the preservation of paintings and methods to mitigate damages, as well as approaches in the remedial conservation of panel paintings and related objects.


The symposium will be held over three days in October 2023. The program will consist of sessions focusing on themes covering diverse topics resulting from an open call for presentations.

  • Day 1 topic: Unicity of the artwork: how experiments and simulation could support conservation. Profile: academia expert with experience in both panel painting experimental measure and modeling.
  • Day 2 topic: The conservation project: how methods, experience and technique support conservation. Profile: expertise from conservators involved in treating and teaching.
  • Day 3 topic: Preventive conservation: coupling system logic and decision making. Profile: practical experience in advanced preventive conservation strategy.


The call for abstract submissions will be released in January, along with more information about the conference. For questions, please contact education@sral.nl



The scientific committee


Marco Fioravanti (UNIFI)

Cécilia Gauvin (S-MA-C-H)

Luuk Hoogstede (SRAL)

Chiara Manfriani (UNIFI)

Poala Mazzanti (UNIFI)

Lorenzo Riparbelli (UNIFI)

Kate Seymour (SRAL)

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