Cultural Heritage

Colorimetry is widely used in many fields of application and has become an essential science in the study and analysis of cultural heritage. In this field, the study of colors is fundamental, because color has not only an expressive role, but it is also a physical part of the historical objects and must be identified, conserved, restored and promoted.

Color analysis in cultural heritage

In cultural heritage, it is widely spread the use of spectroscopy to identify the materials composing the works of art (e.g., pigments identification in paintings), but also for restoration and retrieval. Therefore, it is applied mainly for the analysis of the physical and chemical properties of the materials, without considering the appearance and psycho-physical process of color perception. The use of colorimetry in cultural heritage application is limited to the numerical definition of point-wise color, in order to assess the color fading on a surface, monitor aging processes, evaluate innovative protective or cleaning products,... . In this context, the wrong use of spectral data and the application of point-wise colorimetry in non-standard conditions can lead to problems in the computation of colorimetric spatial coordinates and color perception modeling.
At MIPS lab different studies on colorimetric application in cultural hetirage have been conducted, from the analysis of light sources and lighting in museal consitions, to gemstones color assessment and from mural paintings to ancient documents. A core application of our lab is filmrestoration, and an in-depht presentation of our research in this field is reported in section Film restoration.


Journal Papers

A. Plutino and G. Simone, “The Limits of Colorimetry in Cultural Heritage Applications”, Coloration Technology, Volume 137, Issue 1, Special Issue: Challenges and Open Problems in Colorimetry Special Issue, February 2021, Pages 56-63, DOI:

S. De Meo, A. Plutino, A. Rizzi, "Assessing color of gemstones", Color Research and Application, 45(2), 224-234, 2020, DOI:

Plutino A., Grechi L., Rizzi A., “Evaluation of the perceived colour difference under different lighting for museum applications”, Color Culture and Science Journal Vol. 11 (2), 2019, DOI:

D. Gadia, C. Bonanomi, M. Marzullo, A. Rizzi, “Perceptual enhancement of degraded Etruscan wall paintings”, Journal of Cultural Heritage, Volume 21, September–October 2016, Pages 904–909, DOI:

M. Gargano, D. Bertani, M. Greco, J. Cupitt, D. Gadia, A. Rizzi, “A Perceptual Approach for Visible and NIR Render in Ancient Documents Visualization”, Journal of Cultural Heritage, Volume 16, Issue 4, Pages 518-525, July–August, 2015, DOI:

M. Rossi, D. Marini, A. Rizzi, “Methods and application for photorealistic rendering and lighting of ancient buildings”, Journal of Cultural Heritage, Volume 5, Issue 3 , July-September 2004, Pages 291-300, DOI:

Book Chapters

B. Sarti, A. Plutino and G. Simone , “Digital color acquisition and management of cultural heritage: from spectrophotometry to digital imaging” (OpenAccess), Digitally enhanced design. Breakthrough tools, processes, and expressive potentials, pp. 29 – 46, edited by Maurizio Rossi and Davide Spallazzo, Franco Angeli Journal and Series, Date of first publication: 2021-09-22, ISBN-13: 9788835125716,

Conference Proceedings

L. Grechi, A. Plutino, A. Rizzi, “Valutazione della differenza cromatica percepita sotto diversi illuminanti”, XV Conferenza del Colore, Macerata, 5-7 Settembre 2019.

A. Plutino, N. Richard, H. Deborah, C. Fernandez-Maloigne, N. G. Ludwig, “Spectral Divergence for Cultural Heritage applications”, 25th IS&T's Color and Imaging Conference (CIC), September 11th-15th 2017 Lillehammer (Norway), ISBN: 978-0-89208-328-2

Papers on national journals and proceedings

E. Benigni, A. Buttarelli, C. Donini, L. Valente, A. Plutino and A. Rizzi, "Analisi degli effetti dell’illuminazione museale sull’Automa con Testa di Diavolo, scultura lignea risalente al XVI-XVII secolo", A Conservation Carol - 18th December 2020,

R. Giola, I. Grignoli, S. Mauri, P. R. Spada, A. Plutino and A. Rizzi, "Pellicole UV e vetri oscuranti alle finestre: efficacia del metodo di conservazione di beni museali", A Conservation Carol - 18th December 2020,

D. Marini, A. Artusi, A. Rizzi, “Il problema della rappresentazione di una immagine nell’ambito dei beni culturali”, in “La comunicazione multimediale per i beni culturali, M. Rossi and P. Salonia Editors, pp. 221-238, Ed. Addison Wesley, 2003, ISBN 88-7192-176-3.