Cleaning of Painted Surfaces

October 17 to 21, 2016
Centre de conservation du Québec, Québec (Quebec), Canada
Registration deadline:
July 18, 2016

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) and the Centre de conservation du Québec (CCQ) are pleased to announce a CCI Advanced Professional Development Workshop entitled The Cleaning of Painted Surfaces, which will be held from October 17 to the 21, 2016, at the Centre de Conservation du Québec in Québec (Quebec).

Methods for cleaning paintings have changed significantly since the 1990s. New products and application techniques have been developed and are now being used, partly as a result of important work carried out by Richard Wolbers and Paolo Cremonesi.

Developments in chemical analysis and imaging techniques, combined with pre-cleaning tests, allow for increasingly selective cleaning operations that take aging mechanisms into account.

The theoretical course is designed to increase knowledge and understanding of the tools, chemical concepts and application methods for the new cleaning techniques in order to prepare for and support the workshop activities.

The theoretical course will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction/refresher: acids and bases, intermolecular bonds and forces
  • Solubility tests, solvent power and toxicity
  • Buffer solutions
  • Solvent gels, gelling agents (cellulose ethers, polyacrylic acid and others)
  • Surfactants: general approach, typologies, actions and applications
  • Emulsions and chelating agents

The practical workshops will provide an opportunity to refine the methods for preparing cleaning products. Solvents and reagents in liquid form and in gel and emulsion form will be tested and applied to various types of painted surfaces.

The practical workshops will cover the following topics:

  • Solubility tests on paintings and polychrome objects (sculptures, gilding, etc.)
  • Preparation of solvent gels
  • Preparation of fat and lean emulsions
  • Preparation of chelating agents
  • Practical application of tested mixtures to painted surfaces
The course will be delivered in French, but some documents will be made available in English.


The deadline to submit an application is July 18, 2016. To receive an application, please send an email to: Once we have received your email, we will send you the application form.


The cost of the workshop is $900. This fee includes refreshments during breaks and lunches. Participants are responsible for all travel, lodging and other expenses associated with their participation in the workshop.
CCI and the CCQ will make the final selection of applicants and will inform those accepted by July 22, 2016. There are 15 spaces available. CCI and the CCQ reserve the right to cancel the activity if a minimum number of registrations is not attained or in the case of unexpected constraints.

The selection will be based on the following criteria:

  • likelihood that participants can use the course knowledge to influence good care for Canadian collections
  • ability to share and transfer the knowledge gained during the course to a wider audience
  • professional experience and training
  • number of registrations from a single organization
  • citizenship (preference will be given to Canadians)

If the maximum number of participants is met, a waiting list will be established.

Once your registration has been confirmed, you will be contacted by phone to process the payment. Payment must be provided in Canadian funds by credit card (American Express, MasterCard or VISA).

Canadian federal government employees must provide IS Reference Codes or a commitment number, department code and cost centre.

Instructors for the Cleaning of Painted Surfaces Workshop

Emanuela Bonaccini has a degree in paintings conservation (1995) from the School of Higher Education, Opificio delle Pietre Dure, in Florence, Italy. Since 2008, she has been working in Paris as a paintings conservator for the Musées de France and has also been involved in the continuing education program for conservation students at the Institut national du patrimoine, in Paris, where she teaches water-based techniques for cleaning paintings.

Luciana Ruatta, chemist, completed a thesis in archaeometry (study of the provenance of ancient ceramics) and a PhD in the field of metals conservation. She is currently teaching chemistry, materials technologies and analysis techniques applied to conservation and restoration, in training programs for restorers and continuing education programs for professionals.

Host and Venue

Since 1979, the Centre de conservation du Québec has contributed to the preventive conservation and restoration of heritage furniture as well as archival, archaeological and certain architectural features in Quebec, with the objective of making them more accessible in order to promote Quebec’s cultural heritage. More precisely, the mandate of the CCQ is to:

  • provide professional conservation services and expertise
  • raise awareness of preventive conservation in museums and all other custodians of Quebec's cultural heritage
  • encourage the development of knowledge, skills and facilities relating to an optimum preservation of the Province's cultural heritage.

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) was created in 1972 to promote the proper care and preservation of Canada's cultural heritage and to advance the practice, science and technology of conservation. Since 1992 it has been a Special Operating Agency of the Department of Canadian Heritage, a status which allows it to recover a portion of its expenditures from clients.
CCI advances and promotes the conservation of Canada's heritage collections through its expertise in conservation science, treatment and preventive conservation. CCI works with heritage institutions and professionals to ensure these heritage collections are preserved and accessible to Canadians now and in the future.
CCI has three core areas of activity, which function as the program mandate:

  1. CCI undertakes research and development in conservation, including scientific research, advanced techniques for treatment, and practical and innovative solutions for caring for collections.
  2. CCI provides expert services, including scientific services, conservation treatments and preservation advisory services, to heritage institutions and professionals.
  3. CCI shares conservation knowledge, through training, professional development, online learning materials and publications, to assist those responsible for heritage objects and collections to make informed decisions about the care of their collections.

Additional Information

If you have questions about the Cleaning of Painted Surfaces Workshop or application process, or require additional information, please send inquiries to

Apply now!

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