“A Future for the Past: Engineering Sciences to Save the World’s Cultural Heritage,” by Maurizio Seracini
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 5 p.m. | LSU Design Building, Room 103
Cultural Heritage Engineer Maurizio Seracini will lecture at the LSU College of Art + Design at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20, as part of the Paula G. Manship Endowed Lecture Series.
Seracini is the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) at the University of California, San Diego’s California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). He joined Calit2 in 2006, more than 30 years after graduating from the University of California, San Diego with a BA in bioengineering. He returned to Italy for graduate school and received the Laurea degree in electronic engineering from the University of Padua, where he went on to study medicine.
Since 1980, Seracini has lectured at institutions in Italy and abroad, including Europe, Argentina, and the United States. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Florence in its School of Engineering, School of Architecture, and School of Natural, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences; at the International University of Art in Florence; the University of Ca’ Foscari in Venice; the University of Pisa; and the University of Calabria in Cosenza, where he held a position as adjunct research professor in the School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Humanities.
Seracini is a pioneer in the use of multispectral imaging and other diagnostic tools and analytical technologies as applied to works of art and structures. He has analyzed more than 2,500 works of art and historic buildings—a surprising career path for a former engineer and medical student. But Seracini uses technologies from both worlds, such as multispectral imaging, x-ray, ultrasounds, thermography, laser scanning, and geo-radar to study materials, techniques, and the state of conservation of art works and monumental buildings and to search for missing masterpieces.
Seracini’s most famous quest is his more-than-30-year search to find Leonardo da Vinci’s missing painting, The Battle of Anghiari, suspected to be hidden behind another giant fresco painted by Giorgio Vasari in the Salone de Cinquecento in Florence. His search for the mural has opened a new application of engineering skills and has contributed to his reputation as a diagnostician of art. Some even say that Dan Brown’s character Robert Langdon, from The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Inferno, is based on Maurizio Seracini and his work.
Seracini was named a National Geographic Fellow from 2006 to 2011, and National Geographic has supported and helped fund his quest for the lost mural, which was halted when local authorities in Florence turned down the request to continue the endoscopic investigation behind the Vasari mural to pursue the research. However, the data derived from the probes encouraged the scientific team and supported Seracini’s theory that the lost Battle of Anghiari may lay behind a wall built by Vasari.
In his lecture at LSU, “A Future for the Past: Engineering Sciences to Save the World’s Cultural Heritage,” Seracini will discuss the diagnostic technologies he and his teams have developed for studying and restoring art, and he will share examples from his remarkable, cross-disciplinary career.
The Lost Leonardo da Vinci by National Geographic
Maurizio Seracini: The Secret Lives of Paintings by TedGlobal
About LSU College of Art + Design
The LSU College of Art + Design supports programs in studio art, art history, architecture, graphic design, interior design, and landscape architecture. The college brings together a focus on creativity and expression, talented faculty, specialized concentration areas, outstanding studio and gallery spaces, and a connection to the community to create a dynamic program. For more information, visit design.lsu.edu.