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Studying a 16th-century triptych

A poplar wood triptych with a painting of the Virgin Mary and her child, Saint Dominic and Saint Francis, believed to be from the 16th century, was located in the abandoned church of Saint Dominic in Izola. Restorers from the Restoration Center at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia (ZVKDS) wanted to discover the story behind the triptych before they started its restoration.

“This triptych, of this size and from this time, is unique in Slovenia, making it all the more interesting for different kinds of research,” Saša Dolinšek from ZVKDS said.

Restorers have teamed up with researchers from InnoRenew CoE to analyze the triptych using the institute’s state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to discover what lies beneath the surface of this triptych from the Venetian Gothic period.

Using four cameras and non-invasive spectroscopy and thermography, researchers are investigating whether it might be even older or if there are remnants of the original painting underneath.

“We are scanning the triptych in great detail and trying to understand the chemical and physical properties for each pixel of the scanned surface,” Dr. Jakub Sandak, InnoRenew CoE researcher, said.

ZVKDS is an InnoRenew project partner and one of the institute’s founders.

More about the triptych research can be found in the Primorska kornika contribution (in Slovene, from 12:45 onwards).