Academic thesis

Ina Pratesi: The Late Medieval Representation of the Last Judgement on the North Wall of the Choir of the Church of St. Gallus in Lemwerder-Altenesch. Prospects of Conservation by Means of Protective Coating? Back
Language: Original   -   Translation
Abstract: In 1949, the remainders of a late medieval representation of the Last Judgement were found and uncovered in the Church of St. Gallus in Altenesch (Lower Saxony). Until the seventies, this lime painting on a brick wall remained in its rudimentarily uncovered state. Subsequent to complete uncovering, cleansing and some minor supplements in 1973, no further action was taken. Since its exposure, the painting has been imperiled by a dynamic loss of substance. The hypothesis of climate-dependent decomposition caused by easily soluble salts was confirmed in the course of this degree dissertation. The weathering is caused by a combination of a large potential of chlorides and nitrates in the masonry with climate fluctuations, induced for the most part by the heating system.
As a working hypothesis for this degree dissertation, the option of conserving the imperiled painting by means of a protective coating was postulated. To verify this hypothesis, various covering systems (lime plaster with a separating layer above the paint layer surface) were tested by way of laboratory experiments in the climatic exposure test cabinet on brick test bodies. The materials were chosen after preliminary tests, using techniques approved in practice. The salt load and the climatic stress which the test bodies were exposed to were based on the data which had been ascertained on the object. During a side test, various biostatics were added to the organic separating layer materials and applied to a test area in the interior of the church, to be observed in the course of a long-term study. The results were to be evaluated in summer 2001.
Considering the results of these tests, no recommendation for using any of the tested systems for coating in the Church of St. Gallus could be given. A status assessment of the test bodies showed that, compared to reference bodies, no damage reduction had been achieved thereby. A few of these systems even led to further deterioration of the paint layer, which condition did not show during the observation period on account of the protective layer.
The eventual conservation concept for the painting comprises an extensive climate data analysis, compiled during a period of roughly one year. In combination with both the crystallization pattern observed in the area of the wall painting and the calculated salt mix data, orientation parameters for the indoor climate could be worked out and suggestions for their implementation compiled. Finally, a consolidation and fixation concept for both the substrate and the paint layer was developed.


  • academic institution: HAWK Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst Hildesheim/ Holzminden/Göttingen
  • kind of theses:  Diplomarbeit
  • main Tutor:  Prof. Dr. Ivo Hammer
  • assistant Tutor:  Dr. Hans-Jürgen Schwarz
  • date:  2000
  • Language:  German
  • pages:  177
Ina Pratesi
ina@[Diesen Teil loeschen]


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