Monitoring of the Mosaic

Following the extensive research, testing, and conservation treatment of The Last Judgment mosaic that included the application of a coating system (fluoropolymer and sol gel technology) to protect the highly corrosive potassium glass of the mosaic, the GCI and the Office of the President (OP) of the Czech Republic continued their collaboration by developing a program for monitoring the condition of the mosaic and the performance of the coating system.

The program has three goals:

  • to create an effective program of monitoring and maintaining the mosaic;
  • to re-evaluate the maintenance cycle schedule; and
  • to ensure that new developments in the coating industry are considered for the future.

Three monitoring campaigns (2004, 2007, and 2008) confirmed that the mosaic is faring well and indicated that the coating system, developed by Eric Bescher of the Department of Material Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is performing better than expected.

This component of the project provides for reevaluation of the schedule for replacing the coating. It offers support to the Czech scientists and conservators in their developing a methodology for testing new coatings that replace the fluoropolymer in industry in the future.

A system of comparing macro-photographs taken of the same location under identical conditions provides visual data for comparing conditions in designated, representative locations. A comparison of images from 2004 and 2008 confirmed that the coating system was performing well and effectively preventing the entry of air and moisture that promotes the corrosion which has obscured the mosaic for most of its history. Additional methods for evaluating the mosaic's condition will also be considered by the Czech partners.

Work Completed

  • Three monitoring campaigns (2004, 2007, and 2008).
  • Evaluation of the current coating.
  • Two photographic documentation exercises (2004 and 2008).

Page updated: December 2009