Francesca Lotti

Oct 2, 2022 | Art Word, Restoration

How did you become a restorer? What was your training path?

I’ve always had the passion to fix, restore, preserve. In addition, it is in my family tradition: I ate milk and chalk as a child! I studied art, then enrolled in the magnificent school for Painting Restoration organized by the Province of Florence, then followed corses at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure with a specialization in mosaic, micromosaic and semi-precious stones. Finally, a lot of workshop experience: a wide range of problems to be pondered, faced and solved, and I haven’t stopped for 25 years now!

Let’s talk now about your work. With Art-Test there have been opportunities for collaboration, which one do you want to recall?

Many terracottas come into my workshop, including polychrome ones. With Art-Test I studied some of these works using the Thermoluminescence survey to date the artifacts. We have always worked in synergy, carrying out the analyses in the laboratory, observing the work together and choosing the sampling points so that their integrity was safeguarded.

In general, what are the most common problems encountered during a restoration where diagnostics tests are most useful? And what are the advantages for a restorer to combine a restoration project with a targeted diagnostic campaign?

Often dealing with artworks in the area of the so called “minor arts”, I have mainly needed investigations to date bronzes or terracotta artifacts. Diagnostics can also be useful for identifying what specific type of past restoration intervention is present, by identifying the materias used and their degradation, or it can be very enlightening in philological studies in order to promptly identify artworks authenticity.

You have been working in this field for many years, what changes have you noticed, for example in terms of customers, prices and commissions?

Even more than before, the circle of customers is made up of maniacs of preserving and restoring pieces of their collection, with a little more frenzy in wanting to see results, as if there were no more time. The client often seems not to take into account what are the needed times for the intervention phases, asking to carry out the work for yesterday!

In the photo: Madonna and Child by Ghiberti, Uffizi, Florence