Presentation and Storage of the Romanesque Ceiling Painting Fragments From the Church of St. Nikolaus in Matrei

Author: Cäcilia Kegley
Mentors: Professor Wolfgang Baatz; Assistant Lecturer Beate Sipek, dipl. ing., MA; Assistant Lecturer Alexandra Sagmeister, MA,

Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (Austria)
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration
Specialization: Wall paintings and architectural surfaces (5th year of study)

Abstract

Kegley CThe paper focuses on how the newly recovered fragments of old wall paintings were dealt with in Austria in the 20th century. Several different examples have been chosen to illustrate  as many  solutions to conservation, reassembling, storage, and  display of such fragments. The acquired information was used to determine the best approach to the display of the former Romanesque ceiling paintings from the church St. Nikolaus in Matrei, East Tyrol. In 1997 archaeologists found  its fragments carefully and reverently buried at a site close to the church. A fire damaging the bell tower in the late 18th century led to the precarious condition of the remaining paintings on the church ceiling. Fortunately, the incident did not destroy them completely, so that a large part of the original, although heavily over-painted scheme,  is still in situ. Since neither of the two schemes is any  longer in function as ceiling paintings, but have a history of their own, the problem now arises as to how to establish a connection between  them ,  i.e. how to bring them together in a unique  presentation. In a simulation of the future display, four fragments from St. Nikolaus were duplicated, each illustrating a different way of showcasing the objects in question.

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Short biography

CÄCILIA KEGLEY was born in Klagenfurt, Austria, in  1990. Before beginning her studies in conservation and restoration of wall paintings and architectural surfaces in 2010, she interned at the Landesmuseum Klagenfurt and the Archaeological Park Magdalensberg,  and worked on the research of historical building for a year. During her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, she was involved in conservation projects dealing with glue-based distempera wall paintings from the 19th century, the conservation of Gothic wall paintings in Stift Rhein in Styria, and on several other projects. She is currently writing a student research paper about the presentation of wall painting fragments originating in Austria, focusing also on their storage.