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Banner APAC Symposium

Old Masters, New Tools: Science and Technology Approaches to Art History

Celebrating three years of the Andreas Pittas Art Characterization (APAC) Laboratories

Thursday, 15 December, 09:00 until 18:00          |          Fresnel Auditorium, Athalassa Campus, The Cyprus Institute

About the Event

To celebrate its first three years of achievements, APAC Labs will host the Symposium “Old Masters, New Tools: Science and Technology Approaches to Art History”, held on the 15th of December 2022 at the premises of The Cyprus Institute in Nicosia.

The day-long event will feature presentations by leading scholars in the fields of art history, heritage, and conservation science. Talks will address key themes, topics, and approaches to the interdisciplinary study and analysis of art and heritage objects thus providing the proper research setting to highlight and frame the work and achievements of APAC Labs. We will hear from world-renowned art historians who will contextualize the study of these objects and the possibilities technical analysis provides in offering new answers to old questions. Speakers from leading cultural and museum institutions will address the challenges and innovations facing the next generation of art conservators. Data scientists will discuss the importance of data integration, interoperability, and accessibility of data and analytical results designed for both scholarly and general audiences. Technical experts will examine the latest developments in scientific and technological methodologies in the study of works of art and heritage objects. Finally, innovation and research commercialization perspectives will consider the broader economic and societal contexts of art characterization and heritage science.




Georgios Artopoulos
Assistant Professor, The Cyprus Institute

Georgios ArtopoulosAssist. Professor Georgios Artopoulos works on immersive and virtual environments, urban modeling and digital simulation for the study of built heritage and the creative exploration of historical narratives. Together with the team of Virtual Environments Lab, at the CyI, Georgios is developing ICT-enabled user-driven tools for social resilience and inclusion, with an application in historical context.

The social aspects of historic space and the cross-disciplinary nature of the pressing challenges facing our cities are explored through the externally funded projects he is contributing to or coordinating (under H2020, ENI-CBC-MED, and Cyprus Research and Innovation Foundation frameworks), his role as a co-Head of Virtual Competency Centre e-Infrastructure of the DARIAH ERIC, and as a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of JPI Urban Europe, where he works on matters of sustainable and liveable cities and urban areas.


Nikolas Bakirtzis
Associate Professor & Director of Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories, The Cyprus Institute

nikolas bakirtzisNikolas Bakirtzis is Associate Professor and Director of the Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories (APAC Labs) at the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia. His research and publications focus on byzantine monasticism, medieval cities and fortifications, and, the island landscapes of the Byzantine, Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean. More recently his work explores issues of heritage and cultural identity in historic cities.

In the context of APAC Labs’ activities, he is leading research on aspects of the history, the materiality and the provenance of medieval and early modern works of art enhanced through the use of advanced digital and analytical methods. 

Francesca Casadio
Associate Vice President and Grainger Executive Director, Art Institute of Chicago

francesca casadioFrancesca Casadio is the founder of the scientific research laboratory at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently holds the post of Associate Vice President and Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science. She is also the founding member and co-director of the Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS). Francesca received her PhD and MS degrees in Chemistry from the University of Milan, Italy and in 2019 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne University in Paris.

She’s passionate about communicating the work of conservators and scientists to the public, students, and the media. In both her academic and museum work Francesca is particularly proud of training women scientists for careers in museums, industry and academia. In 2006 she was the recipient of the L’Oréal Art and Science of Color Silver Prize.

Vincent Detalle
Head Researcher of Laser Laboratory, C2RMF

vincent detalleVincent Detalle, PhD in science and analytical strategy is research engineer at C2RMF in charge of the Laser Laboratory. Specialist in spectroscopy and instrumental development, he works on the study of the conservation of cultural heritage and the development of new techniques of archaeometry, preventive conservation or restoration (LIBS-LIF-Raman, OCT imaging, DHSPI, laser cleaning...). He was for 12 years in charge of the mural painting group at LRMH. He is the head of the French Molab which is integrated in the European program Iperion HS and is the scientific coordinator of the Equipex + ESPADON obtained in the framework of the Pia3 dedicated to the development of cultural heritage augmented object.


Anastasia Drandaki
Associate Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology, University of Athens; Curator of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection, Benaki Museum

anastasia drandakiDr Anastasia Drandaki is Assistant Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology at the Department of History and Archaeology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Academic Consultant to the Benaki Museum. From 1991 to 2017 she was the Curator of the Benaki Museum Byzantine Collection and has organized exhibitions on diverse aspects of Byzantine art and culture, including jewelry, ceramics and icons. She has published books and articles on late antique and medieval metalwork, icons and wall paintings, on the devotional practices in Byzantium, and the arts of Sinai. She has participated in numerous EU-funded research projects, aiming at the documentation and dissemination of cultural data and museum collections. In 2013-2014 she was member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton with the support of Herodotus Fund.

Maria Georgiadou
Managing Director, Cyprus Seeds

maria georgiadouMs. Georgiadou is the Managing Director of Cyprus Seeds, responsible for the design and implementation of the program. Between 2014 and 2017, Maria was a full-time consultant with Bank of Cyprus in matters relating to innovation and entrepreneurship; in this capacity, she initiated and coordinated IDEA, the first Accelerator-Incubator Program in Cyprus which supports the creation of Cypriot start-ups Maria has 25 years of experience with the Cyprus Development Bank. At cdbbank, she headed for 8 years the International Banking Unit, she set up the EU Unit of the bank and attracted EU grants for SMEs in Cyprus. During her last 3 years at the Bank, she was Head of Business Development & Marketing of the cdb Group. Prior to joining cdbbank, Maria worked in the European Commission in Brussels for one year. She is an evaluator for the HORIZON 2020 program, SME Instrument, which supports the commercialization of innovative research. For the last 12 years, she is one of the two partners of the World Economic Forum in Cyprus for the production of its annual Global Competitiveness Report. Maria studied in the US, with Fulbright scholarship, and got a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Oxford, UK.



Karen Golmer
Innovation Manager, MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

karen golmerKaren Golmer is an innovative industry leader who facilitates collaboration to advance new technologies, identify technical challenges, and find solutions to mitigate business risks.  Karen is a Chemist with an MBA and 35 years of corporate experience from lab professional to global program director with companies including GE, Ecolab, Calgon, Diversey, and Kodak.  She is the Innovation Manager at the MIT Deshpande Center and cofounded a new filtration membrane startup out of MIT:  Via Separations. She mentors and judges many start-up competitions including Imagine H2O, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Catalyst and Innovate Mass, MIT Water Club and Delta V.


Sorin Hermon
Associate Professor in Digital Cultural Heritage, The Cyprus Institute

Sorin HermonSorin leads the Digital Cultural Heritage research group at STARC, The Cyprus Institute (CyI), which focuses its scientific activities on two convergent fields: 3D approaches to the study of the past and big data for knowledge repositories. He is director of STARLAB, a mobile laboratory for Heritage Science, including instrumentation for non-invasive chemical-physical measurements, 3D documentation, technical imaging and remote sensing. The mobile lab provides scientific expertise to archaeological excavations in Cyprus and the region, art museums and heritage collections. A most recent achievement is the inclusion of STARLAB and its related scientific activities into E-RIHS, the European Research Infrastructure on Heritage Science, where CyI fulfill the role of a regional hub for the infrastructure. Sorin is a member of the Steering Committee of E-RIHS PP, the Preparatory Phase of E-RIHS.


Ioli Kalavrezou
Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine Art, Harvard University

ioli kalavrezouSince 1989 Ioli Kalavrezou has been the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine Art History at the department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, having earlier taught at UCLA and at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. She has served as Chair of the department for six years and is also a Senior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks. She is a member of the Executive Committee and Senior Research Associate at Dumbarton Oaks. She also serves as Trustee at the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia.



Michel Menu
Director of Science and Technology of Archaeology and Culture Research Center, The Cyprus Institute

Michel Menu

Michel Menu got his PhD in physics/optics in 1978 from The University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 6 and a habilitation in Physics in 1992 from the University Paris-Sud-Saclay, Paris 11. He was the Head of the Research Department (Laboratory) of the C2RMF with 45 permanent researchers and technicians, including art historians, physicists, chemists, radiologist, image specialists, with the addition of 15 non permanents (post-docs and PhD students). He was co-leader (with Didier Gourier, Professeur École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie Paris) of the team Physico-Chimie des Matériaux Témoins de l’Histoire (PCMTH) inside the CNRS unit (UMR 8247: Institut de Recherche de Chimie Paris, IRCP). His research activities concern the study of the colour of art works and develops new methodologies in order to analyze colour and appearance attributes on paintings in a non-invasive way in collaboration with museums across the globe.

Austin Nevin
Head of the Conservation Department, Courtauld Institute of Art

austin nevinAustin Nevin is the Head of the Department of Conservation, at the Courtauld Institute of Art that unites Easel Painting and Wall Painting Conservation with transdisplinary research on preventive conservation, technical art history, conservation science and conservation practice. His research focuses on the conservation and analysis of paintings, ancient and modern art on walls, easels and on paper and ranges from Chinese wall paintings to the analysis of Egyptian Polychromy and the analysis of red pigments from Leonardo´s The Last Supper. Trained as a conservator and conservation scientist he has worked as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Gothenburg and taught at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. Between 2011-2019 he was a Researcher at the Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie (IFN) in Milan, part of the Italian National Research Council. Following a degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford (2001), he obtained an MA in the Conservation of Wall Painting (2004) and a PhD at The Courtauld (2008).

He is a Vice President and Fellow of the International Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic and is an Editor of Studies in Conservation and of the Springer Series Cultural Heritage Science.


Nicos Rossides
CEO, CREF Business Ventures, Co-Founder & Chairman of the Advisory Board, DMR AI-Driven Insights

nicos rossidesDr Rossides is the owner of MASMI Research Group, an international research company with offices in 10 countries and the Chairman of the Advisory Board and co-owner of DigitalMR, an international digital marketing insights firm, based in London. He is also Senior Advisor to the Board at The Cyprus Institute, where he oversees, among others, knowledge exploitation and innovation activities. In addition to owning three companies, Dr Rossides has led, during his CEO career, more than 15 mergers and acquisitions. Until July 2014, he was CEO of Medochemie, a global pharmaceutical company, prior to which he held senior management positions at three international companies: CEO of MASMI Research Group (2007 - 2012); CEO of Synovate’s Europe Middle East and Africa region as well as its Global Head of Solutions (2001 - 2007); CEO of MEMRB Research Group (which was acquired by Synovate) where he worked for nearly twenty years. Prior to his managerial career, Dr Rossides was Senior Research Fellow at Kyoto University, where he received a Doctor of Engineering degree. A Fulbright and Mombusho scholar, he also received senior management training at MIT’s Sloan School.


Romain Thomas
Maître de conférences en histoire de l'art moderne, Université Paris Nanterre

romain thomasRomain Thomas is Associate Professor in Early Modern Art History at Université Paris Nanterre. After a Master in Quantum Physics at Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris), he studied History and Art History (PhD). He is particularly interested in 17th-century Dutch Art History, Technical Art History and Digital Humanities. In 2019, he co-authored a book on Les Provinces-Unies à l'époque moderne (The Dutch Republic in Early modern times) and is now co-editing a book on interdisciplinary approaches of colour (2023).

At the moment, he is Principal Investigator of AORUM project (French Research National Agency), co-Principal Investigator of Patrimoniochromies Project (Labex Les Passés dans le présent), and Deputy Scientific coordinator of ESPADON (French Research National Agency).


Robert Van Langh
Head of Conservation & Science, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

robert van langhDr. Robert van Langh has been Head of the Department of Conservation & Scientific Research at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam since 2006. Beginning as a gold- and silversmith, Robert was subsequently trained as a conservator at the National Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp. After working at the Museum of the Tropics, he became a metals conservator at the Rijksmuseum in 1995. During this time he developed the metals conservation training program now being taught at the University of Amsterdam. In 2012 he finished his PhD at Delft University of Technology combining Materials Science and Art History with the title: ‘Technical Studies of Renaissance Bronzes'. As of 2015 Robert is also Chair of NICAS (Netherlands Institute of Conservation, Art and Science), a new innovative multidisciplinary research center housed in the Rijksmuseum Conservation building, uniting art history, conservation and science.

Jørgen Wadum
Prof. em. Dr., Nivaagaard Collection, Nivå & Wadum Art Technological Studies (WATS), Denmark

jorgen wadumJørgen Wadum is director of Wadum Art Technological Studies and a Specialty Advisor of Dutch & Flemish art at the Nivaagaard Collection, Nivå, Denmark. Until 2020 he was director of the Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation (CATS), a research infrastructure at Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK), The National Museum of Denmark. He held the position as full Professor in Conservation & Restoration at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam, 2012-2016.

From 2005-2017 he was Director of Conservation at SMK and from 1990 through 2004 he was Chief Conservator at the Mauritshuis, The Hague.


Thursday, 15 December 2022

Venue: Fresnel Auditorium, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus

Time Description
08:30 - 09:00 Welcome Coffee & Registration
  Opening Addresses
09:00 - 09:30

Prof. Costas Papanicolas (President of The Cyprus Institute)

Dr. Andreas Pittas (Executive Chairman of Medochemie and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Cyprus Institute)

Dr. Marina Solomidou–Ieronymidou (Director of the Department of Antiquities)

Hon. Dr Yiannis Toumazis (Deputy Minister of Culture)

09:30 - 10:15

Research and Instrumentation Highlights
By APAC Labs / VE Lab / STARC

Coffee Break

  Sessions of Presentations
10:15 - 11:30

Art Historical Perspectives

Chair : Prof. Ioli Kalavrezou (Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine Art History, Harvard University and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Cyprus Institute)

"The technical side of Art History: The case of Cretan icon painting"
Prof. Anastasia Drandaki
(Associate Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology, University of Athens and Curator of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection, Benaki Museum)

"Looking for gold in 16th-17th c. Western European painting: the AORUM project"
Romain Thomas (Lecturer in modern art history, Université Paris Nanterre)

11:30 - 13:00

Art Conservation in 21st Century

Chair : Prof. Ioli Kalavrezou (Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine Art History, Harvard University and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Cyprus Institute)

"Analytical studies to support the conservation of wall paintings: case studies from Cyprus to China"
Dr. Austin Nevin
(Head of Department of Conservation, Courtauld Institute),

"Non –Invasive techniques of point analysis and imaging– applications in modern and contemporary art from the Art Institute of Chicago"
Dr. Francesca Casadio (Associate Vice President and Grainger Executive Director, Art Institute of Chicago),

"Facing the unexpected – infrared imaging of heads by Rembrandt and his contemporaries"
Jørgen Wadum (Speciality Advisor, Nivaagaard Collection, Denmark / Associate Research RKD, The Hague)

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 - 15:15

Advances in Digital Cultural Heritage

Chair : Michel Menu (Interim Director, STARC, The Cyprus Institute)

"Digital approaches to Art Characterization: state-of-the-art and future challenges"
Prof. Sorin Hermon
(Associate Professor, The Cyprus Institute)

"Expanding the role of digital tools in the Museum: new ways of seeing the original"
Prof. Georgios Artopoulos
(Assitant Professor, The Cyprus Institute)


15:15 - 16:30

Frontiers in Heritage Science

Chair : Michel Menu (Interim Director, STARC, The Cyprus Institute)

"The ESPADON project: creating a dynamic, multidimentional, cultural heritage atlas ecosystem"
Prof. Vincent Detalle
(Professor, CY Cergy Paris Université)

"The interdisciplinary approach asks for a different type of recognition of the knowledge of the conservator"
Dr. Robert Van Langh
(Head of Conservation & Science, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

16:30 - 17:00

Coffee Break

17:00 - 18:30

Roundtable Discussion: APAC Labs at the Crossroads of Research and Innovation

Moderator: Nikolas Bakirtzis (Associate Professor, The Cyprus Institute, APAC Labs)

Mrs. Karen Golmer (Innovation Manager (Emerita), Deshpande Center, MIT; Member of Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, National Science Foundation; Mentor, Cyprus Seeds)

Mrs. Maria Georgiadou (Managing Director, Cyprus Seeds)

Dr Nicos Rossides (Co-founder & Chairman of the Advisory Board, DigitalMR; CEO, CREF Business Ventures)


Georgios Artopoulos: Expanding the role of digital tools in the Museum: new ways of seeing the original

The presentation will draw on recent and ongoing research, developed by the Virtual Environments Lab, about interactive visualisation and simulation of historic sites, and their environment, for research data interpretation, community participation and engagement, as well as for offering varied education experiences.

Francesca Casadio: Non –Invasive techniques of point analysis and imaging– applications in modern and contemporary art from the Art Institute of Chicago

The wide availability of compact and relatively low-cost portable systems for point molecular and elemental analysis has opened up many new avenues for wide-spectrum studies of the materials of works of art that overcome the ethical dilemma of sampling or at least allow a drastic reduction of the need for samples. Advances in imaging techniques at multiple wavelengths including XRF –mapping expand opportunities to scientifically examine objects in museum collections and open up new avenues for sharing data and creating new knowledge with curatorial colleagues and other non –experts, including opportunities for dissemination with the general public. A non – invasive approach is essential for those modern and contemporary works of art where uniform and often pristine fields of color dominate the picture plane, making inconspicuous sampling impossible. In this talk, I will present several case studies from over two decades of investigation of the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

(modern & contemporary, XRF, noninvasive)

Anastasia Drandaki: The technical side of Art History: The case of Cretan icon painting

I will focus on the methodological problems that arise when attributing unsigned icons to Cretan painters of the 15th-17th centuries. I will discuss the key contribution of technical analyses in the formulation of a systematic art historical methodology that would include not only -subjective- stylistic descriptions but also detailed technical mapping of the works.

Karen Golmer: Does Heritage Science Have a Place in the Art Market?

This brief dialogue poses questions to be answered in order to place the tools and methods discussed earlier in the conference in context with the dynamic art market. Does the study of the material and technical aspects of art add to its value? Does provenance and authentication make a difference in the ways we evaluate and appraise artworks? What are the trends? Where are the major players headed and what is important to them?

Sorin Hermon: Digital approaches to Art Characterization: state-of-the-art and future challenges

The presentation will briefly summarize current uses of digital tools and methods in art characterization, such as geometric characterization of features or the more recent applications of artificial intelligence to the restoration of fragmented heritage assets or reconstruction of color palette on paintings, and will present current research challenges, such as large-scale, trans-disciplinary data integration and investigation, classification methods based on shape descriptors and most recent advancements in virtual restoration and multi-sensors, multi-scale digital documentation of heritage assets.

Austin Nevin: Analytical studies to support the conservation of wall paintings: case studies from Cyprus to China

This talk will focus on a presentation of the analysis and conservation of wall paintings, a focus of the Department of Conservation at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Research on the condition and composition of paintings is essential for the design of appropriate conservation measures, whether preventive, passive or remedial. With a focus on the use of both non-invasive and sampling, it is possible to understand how the composition of wall paintings has implications for their stability and preservation. In addition the technical study of wall paintings sheds important light on the trade of pigments and the diffusion of technology. Examples will be shown, together with studies of wall paintings from international conservation projects.

(conservation, wall paintings, pigments, invasive and noninvasive)

Romain Thomas: Looking for gold in 16th-17th c. Western European painting: the AORUM project

AORUM (Analyse de l’OR et des ses Usages comme Matériau pictural) is an interdisciplinary project (art history, physical chemistry of painting techniques, optics), whose aim is to study gold as a painting material in artistic practices in Western Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its objective is thus to explore a new historiographical field by gathering a corpus of artworks and analysing them from a triple perspective (historical, technical and optical). Indeed, contrary to the prescriptions suggested by fifteenth- and sixteenth-century painting theorists (e.g. Alberti and Vasari), gold continued to be used well beyond the Renaissance. This is evidenced by the paintings of such famous artists as Rembrandt and Vermeer. Many other examples exist, and yet, among the painter’s materials, gold is the great absentee from the literature on European painting of the early modern period. The objectives are precisely to bring this largely ignored corpus out of the shadows: to exploit it according the fundamental questions of art history (iconography, social history, history of taste, etc.); to investigate, with an interdisciplinary approach (material history of art, technical art history – physical chemistry of Heritage materials), the history of techniques for using gold; and to analyse the optical properties of gilding, the historical display of works of art, and the effects it generates through the interplay of luminous surfaces, again using an interdisciplinary approach involving art history and physics (optics).

(painting, materiality, interdisciplinarity, technical art history, gilding, gold)

Robert Van Langh: The interdisciplinary approach asks for a different type of recognition of the knowledge of the conservator.

For years, the museum conservator has been seen as the person who works on parts of the collection and possesses excellent craft skills. This is because the conservator is the person who understands an object and can place it in its historical context and also the person who knows which analytical techniques can be used to analyze a material so that a distinction in materials and decay mechanisms can be clarified. Yet, in my opinion, the conservator is being shortchanged, a person who has completed a master's degree in conservation after a bachelors degree is also a material historian. It is a development of the field that differs from technical art history as will be clarified during the presentation.

Jørgen Wadum: Facing the unexpected – infrared imaging of heads by Rembrandt and his contemporaries.

This talk will examine how infrared imaging of heads and eyes in portraits or tronies painted by Rembrandt and his contemporaries reveals different approaches in paint handling and pigment mixtures to create convincing representations of the sitters. By studying the materials employed by Dutch artists active during the third and fourth decades of the 17th century, especially when painting eyes and facial complexions, new insights into the understanding of artists’ choices of materials emerge. Mapping the techniques in portraits by artists of the time and comparing the results with contemporary sources and recipes may offer important contributions to authenticity studies.

(infrared, painting, materiality, authenticity)



The symposium will be in English and the live stream is open to the public.
Live streaming of the lecture will be available on The Cyprus Institute’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Channel.
Live streaming is facilitated by the CySTEM project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement No. 667942.
Images and/or recordings of our open public events may be used by The Cyprus Institute for dissemination purposes including print and digital media such as websites, press-releases, social media, and live streaming.


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