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Wall Paintings Conservation

H.Ch. of Saint John the Theologian | H.M. of Dionysiou | Mount Athos

During its longstanding collaboration with the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou, among other projects ARTIS undertook the task of conserving the wall paintings in the chapel of Saint John the Theologian. 


The Monastery of Dionysiou has fourteen chapels. It is located on the southwestern side of the Athonite peninsula, and is one of the most significant monasteries of Mount Athos. It was founded in the second half of the 14th century by Saint Dionysios. 


The Katholikon (main church) of the monastery is dedicated to the Nativity of John the Baptist; it was built shortly before the mid-16th century and is decorated with wall paintings by the iconographer Georgios Klontzas. He was one of the prominent artists of the Cretan School and among the most important representatives of early post-Byzantine painting.


The wall paintings in the chapel of Saint John the Theologian are dated to the 17th century. Before conservation treatments began, a preliminary investigation was conducted in order to gather all information necessary to determine how the project would be undertaken. The environmental conditions were carefully noted; damages to the work were observed and the proper method for cleaning them was decided. Wherever there were extensive damages, cracks and missing pieces, stabilizing procedures were conducted and missing areas were filled in with special materials.


Once the process of dry cleaning the painted surface from settlements of soot and pollutants was completed, the aesthetic restoration followed. The chromatic restoration never involves overpainting onto the authentic painted surface. The interventions that ARTIS undertakes function coherently in the effort to restore the work’s aesthetic, and they maintain their reversibility, with absolute respect for the original. 

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