My twin interests in the examination and conservation of polychrome wood sculpture and the history and theory of conservation are direct reflections of my professional experience to date. I worked as a conservator at The Cloisters from 1990 until 2002, focusing on the conservation and preservation of sculpture. After my move to the university I became interested in larger issues of methodology and theory, and have expanded my research accordingly. My recent work has examined mistake making in conservation, the history of conservation (especially in the United States) and the theoretical underpinnings of the field. These interests are reflected in the approaches I’ve taken in my object-based research. For example, in a forthcoming book on the conservation of medieval polychrome wood sculpture, I will be discussing history and decision-making as much –or more – than practical tips on repairing sculpture. My teaching in heavily inflected by this research path, too. My favorite course at the moment is Issues in Conservation: Historical and Ethical Considerations in the Development of a Discipline, in which we closely examine key elements of conservation – preservation, technical study, restoration – and trace their change over time. In my conservation treatment courses, I place a lot of emphasis on articulating the rationale for treatment. I am currently developing new courses on technical art history, in which we will learn about ways of engaging with the physical object, and on controversies in conservation.
Michele D. Marincola
Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Conservation; Research Scholar, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Conservation Consultant, Villa La Pietra
M.A. and Certificate in Conservation, 1990, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Issues in Conservation: Historical and Ethical Considerations in the Development of a Discipline; Polychromy and Monochromy: Treatment of Medieval Wooden Sculpture; Conservation of Stone Sculpture; Conservation Controversies.
Recent public lectures
“Do Books on Conservation Practice Still Have Value? Information Dissemination in an Accelerating Context,” University of Oslo, “Archaeology of the Object Project “After the Black Death: Painting and Polychrome Sculpture in Norway 1350-1550,” October 16, 2014.
“Teaching Technical Art History at the Graduate Level: The Summer Institute in Technical Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts,” College Art Association, New York City, February 15, 2013.
“Modes of Replication and the Loss of the Original: Processes of Art Making in pre-Modern Europe,” Courtauld Institute of Art, London, October 30, 2012.
with Sarah Maisey: “To Err is Human: Understanding and Sharing Mistakes in Conservation Practice,” ICOM-CC, 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 19-23 September 2011.
with Lucretia Kargère: , “The Conservation of Polychrome Wood Sculpture in the United States: An Historical Overview 1870-1970,” ICOM-CC, 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 19-23 September 2011.
“Blink Twice: Making Mistakes in Conservation,” General Session, Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation, Milwaukee WI, May 13, 2010.
Recent symposia organized
Leonardo da Vinci, Recent Technical Findings and Discoveries, February 18, 2012, Wood Auditorium, Avery, Columbia University.
Preserving Destruction: ANAGPIC Professional Day Talks, April 19, 2008, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.
Conservation Legacies of L'Alluvione: A Symposium Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Florence Flood, November 10-11, 2006, NYU-Florence, Villa la Pietra, Florence, Italy.
Cesare Brandi, October 4, 2006, Italian Cultural Institute, NY.
Lucretia Kargère and Michele D. Marincola, "Conservation in Context: The Examination and Treatment of Medieval Polychrome Wood Sculpture in the United States," Metropolitan Museum Studies in Art, Technology and Science 2 (2014), pp. 11-49. Download PDF
Michele Marincola, ed. Johannes Taubert, Polychrome Sculpture: Meaning, Form, Conservation. (English translation with new notes and bibliography), Getty Publications, 2015.
Michele Marincola, “The Cloisters’ Romanesque Crucifix from Northern Spain: A Reconstruction and Interpretation,” in: eds. Lutz, G, Cambareri, M, and Fozi, S. Striking Images: Christ on the Cross and the Emergence of Medieval Monumental Sculpture, Brepols/Harvey Miller, 2014 (forthcoming).
Michele Marincola and Sarah Maisey, “To Err is Human: Understanding and Sharing Mistakes in Conservation Practice,” ICOM-CC 16th, Triennial Conference, Lisbon. Preprints, 2011, paper 1911.
Lucretia Kargère and Michele Marincola, “The Conservation of Polychrome Wood Sculpture in the United States: An Historical Overview 1870-1970,” ICOM-CC 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon. Preprints, 2011, paper 1703.
Chapuis, Julien und Michele Marincola, "Bemerkungen zum Meister der Biberacher Sippe und zu einem hl. Rochus in The Cloisters," in Nicht die Bibliothek, sondern das Auge: Westeuropäische Skulptur und Malerei an der Wende zur Neuzeit, 66-75.Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2008.
Michele Marincola, "Brandi in America: Further Thoughts towards a History."In Cesare Brandi Oggi, Prime ricognizioni (Atti del Convegno, May-June 2007), 251-258.Rome: Istituto Centrale di Restauro, 2008.
"Riemenschneider's Use of the Decorative Punch."In Tilman Riemenschneider, c. 1460-1531. Studies in the History of Art, 65. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2004.
"Polychromy." In Encyclopedia of Sculpture.Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003.
"A Technical Investigation of the Dumbarton Oaks Virgin and Child by Tilman Riemenschneider."The Sculpture Journal IV (2000): 24-34.
"The Surfaces of Riemenschneider's Sculpture."In Tilman Riemenschneider: Master Sculptor of the Late Middle Ages, 100-116.Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1999.
"A Standing Virgin in The Cloisters: The Conservation and Restoration of a Medieval Alabaster." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Winter 1997/98): 38-45.
Stein, R., J. Kimmel, F. Klemm, M. Marincola. "Observations on Cyclododecane as a Temporary Consolidant for Stone." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 39, no. 3 (Spring 2001): 355-369.
Ellen Pearlstein, Ellen and Michele Marincola, eds. Loss Compensation: Technical and Philosophical Issues, Proceedings of the Objects Specialty Group Session.Washington, D. C.: American Institute for Conservation , 1994.
Professional Associate, American Institute for Conservation Co-Chair, Objects Specialty Group, American Institute for Conservation, 1993-95 Professional Study Grant, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Use of Purple Fluorite as an Artists' Pigment in the Middle Ages, 1997 Panel Reviewer, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Conservation Project Support, 1997, 2002
Faculty: Special Appointments