Advances in Science and Technology have revolutionized the documentation and study of art and archaeology. Issues of style, iconography, technique, provenance and materiality, addressed through innovative digital and analytical methods, have transformed the history of art, the archaeological method, the preservation of cultural heritage and their relevance for contemporary societies.
Responding to these developments, the Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories (APAC Labs) at The Cyprus Institute (CyI), embrace a holistic approach to art characterization. More specifically, the labs will pursue:
A) Research, to advance the effective use of heritage science and technology in the characterization of works of art, monuments and archaeological material.
B) Innovation, to develop task-specific service protocols related to material characterization, provenance, state of preservation and identification of works of art and cultural heritage artefacts.
C) Training and Education, to offer workshops and seminars to experts and students in both the humanities and the sciences exposing them to interdisciplinary methodologies and approaches.
The APAC Labs offer an interdisciplinary research pipeline that is based on a broad and multi-scale diagnostics approach, integrating inorganic / organic physico-chemical methods with reflectography, multi-spectral imaging, and surface 2D imaging/3D geometric characterization. Acquired data are archived in repositories in the context of Dioptra: the Edmée Leventis Digital Library for Cypriot Culture and managed in coordination with CyI’s Cy-Tera High Performance Computing Facility.
Digital documentation, spectral imaging and analytical work on Byzantine icons, frescoes, mosaics and paintings by artists such as El Greco, Titian and Giovanni Baronzio have offered exciting results on aspects of technique and materials used; in addition, they have provided new insights into the history and preservation of these works. Scientific visualization has allowed the virtual reconstruction of heritage-at-risk monuments, such as the looted church of Antiphonitis, fragments of archaic terracotta statues from Salamis, now spread in museums and collections across the world, or fading graffiti in the medieval churches of Cyprus and Venice. Moreover, the use of virtual immersive environments offers tremendous possibilities in the simulation of heritage contexts, like the historic old city of Nicosia, or the prehistoric World Heritage Site of Choirokoitia.