Retouching the wall paintings of the Nossa Senhora da Piedade Hermitage, Loulé: technical choices


  • Giuseppe Agulli Istituto Centrale per il Restauro, SAF-ICR Matera Via Luigi La Vista 5 75100 Matera, Itália
  • Nuno Proença Nova Conservação, S.A., Largo Vitorino Damásio, 3, 3º Esq. 1200-872 Lisboa, Portugal
  • Maria João Revez Nova Conservação, S.A., Largo Vitorino Damásio, 3, 3º Esq. 1200-872 Lisboa, Portugal
  • Marta Raposo Politecnico di Milano, DASTU - Departamento de Arquitectura e Estudos Urbanos, via Bonardi 3 20133 Milão, Itália



Retouching, Wall paintings, Lacunae, Retouching methodology and techniques, Protective finishing


Given its impact on the perception of observers, the reintegration of lacunae in works of pictorial art is one of the most delicate and debated conservation-restoration actions. This text describes the methodology that guided the technical choices regarding the chromatic reintegration of the lacunae and the protective finishing of the mural surfaces in the Nossa Senhora da Piedade (Our Lady of Mercy) Hermitage, in Loulé. Additional reference is made to the way in which those choices/methodology articulated the symbolic and religious values of the hermitage paintings with the ethical and deontological principles of conservation-restoration. Although the type of intervention and its final outcome should always be discussed with the stakeholders, and eventual consultants, technical choices will necessarily be made by the conservator-restorer, who must therefore have training, experience and sensitivity adequate to the critical analysis required by this type of decision making.


Download data is not yet available.


[1] Fundel, S.; Drewello, R.; Hoyer, S.; Kügel, B., ‘How do fragmentary images affect us?’, Studies in Conservation 53(sup1) (2008) 27-32,

[2] Brandi, C., Teoria do restauro, Edições Orion, Amadora (2006).

[3] Bailão, A., ‘O gestaltismo aplicado à reintegração cromática de pintura de cavalete’, Estudos de Conservação e Restauro 1 (2009) 128-139.

[4] Agulli, G.; Silva, L., ‘Treatment of lacunae, Gestalt psychology and Cesare Brandi. From theory to practice’, in 3rd International Meeting on Retouching of Cultural Heritage RECH3, eds. A. Bailão, F. Henriques, A. Bidarra, Escola Artística e Profissional Árvore, Porto (2015) 95-102.

[5] Brajer, I., ‘To retouch or not to retouch? – Reflections on the aesthetic completion of wall paintings’, in CeROArt. Conservation, exposition, Restauration d’Objets d’Art (HS Junho 2015), (acesso em 2018-09-01).

[6] Muñoz-Viñas, S., Contemporary Theory of Conservation, Elsevier-Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford (2005).

[7] van de Vall, R., ‘Painful decisions: philosophical considerations on a decision-making model’, in Modern Art: Who Cares?, eds. I. Hummelen & D. Sillé, Archetype Publications, Londres (2005) 196-200.

[8] Lameira, F.; Gordalina, R., ‘Ermida Nossa Senhora da Piedade / Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade – Mãe Soberana’ (2004), in SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, Direcção Geral do Património Cultural, (acesso em 2018-09-01).

[9] Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Piedade – Loulé, Câmara Municipal de Loulé, (s.d.), (acesso em 2018-09-05).

[10] Mãe Soberana, em Loulé: a grande romaria algarvia, Diocese do Algarve, (acesso em 2018-09-05).

[11] Aleixo, J., ‘O culto a Nossa Senhora da Piedade, Mãe Soberana dos Louletanos, em Loulé (1806-2013)’,dissertação de mestrado em História Contemporânea, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa (2013),

[12] Serra, M.P., ‘Conservação e restauro da Ermida Nossa Senhora da Piedade’, Al-úlyá 5 (1996) 265-275, (acesso em 2018-09-07).

[13] Carlo-Stella, C., ‘Religious heritage as a meeting point for dialogue: the Cathedral Workshops experience’, in Conservation of Living Religious Heritage. Proceedings of the 2003 ICCROM Forum Living Religious Heritage: Conserving the Sacred, eds. H. Stovel, N. Stanley-Price, R. Killick, ICCROM, Roma (2005) 107-112, (acesso em 2018-08-27).

[14] ICATHM. Carta de Veneza – Sobre a Conservação e Restauro dos monumentos e sítios (1964), (acesso em 2020-06-15).

[15] Appelbaum, B., ‘Criteria for treatment: reversibility’, Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 26 (2) (1987) 65-73.

[16] Mora, P.; Mora, L.; Philippot, P., La Conservazione delle Pitture Murali, 2a Ed., ICCROM e Editrice Compositori, Roma (2001).

[17] Ameringer, C. S. – ‘Maimeri Restauro Varnish Colours’, in Painting Conservation Catalog. Vol. III: Inpainting, compiled by C. A. Metzger; C. Maines; J. Dunn, Paintings Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Washington, DC (2011) 193-198.

[18] Braamcamp de Figueiredo, A.; Carvalho, S., ‘As três dimensões da cor na reintegração cromática diferenciada: a importância da luminosidade’, Ge-conservación 9 (2016) 21-30.

[19] Weyer, A.; Roig Picazo, P.; Pop, D.; Cassar, J.; Özköse, A.; Vallet, J.M.; Srša, I. (eds.), EwaGlos - European Illustrated Glossary of Conservation Terms for Wall Paintings and Architectural Surfaces, Hornemann Institut, Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg, (2015),

[20] Ashley-Smith, J., ‘Losing the edge: the risk of a decline in practical conservation skills’, Journal of the Institute of Conservation 39(2) (2016) 119-132,

[21] de la Rie, E.R.; Quillen Lomax, S.; Palmer, M.; Deming Glinsman, L.; Maines, C.A., ‘An investigation of the photochemical stability of urea-aldehyde resin retouching paints: removability tests and colour spectroscopy’, Studies in Conservation 45(sup1) (2000) 51-59,

[22] Arslanoglu, J.; Learner, T., ‘The evaluation of Laropal A81: Paraloid B‐72 polymer blend varnishes for painted and decorative surfaces–appearance and practical considerations’, The Conservator 25(1) (2001) 62-72,

[23] de la Rie, E.R.; McGlinchey, C.W., ‘New synthetic resins for picture varnishes’, Studies in Conservation 35(sup1) (1990) 168-173,

[24] de la Rie, E. R.; Delaney, J. K.; Morales, K. M.; Maines, C. A.; Sung, L.P., ‘Modification of Surface Roughness by Various Varnishes and Effect on Light Reflection’, Studies in Conservation 55(2) (2010) 134-143,

[25] Borgioli, L., Regal Varnish (Relazione Tecnica), CTS (2015) (acesso em 2018-09-3).

[26] Caetano, J., Proença, N., Vilaça de Sousa, C., ‘Conservation as an act between time’, in International Seminar Theory and Practice in Conservation: A Tribute to Cesare Brandi, eds. J. Delgado Rodrigues & J.M. Mimoso, LNEC, Lisboa (2006) 119-126.

reintegração pictórica a tratteggio



How to Cite

Agulli, G., Proença, N., Revez, M. J., & Raposo, M. (2022). Retouching the wall paintings of the Nossa Senhora da Piedade Hermitage, Loulé: technical choices. Conservar Património, 40, 49–67.