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in short

Both architecture and paintings change over time and should be understood in their new forms. Successive transformations, decorative campaigns, dispersions, restorations, changes in conservation conditions, destruction by natural phenomena or war have produced and continue to produce losses and modifications of Europe’s cultural heritage. Recording and collecting data on its past and current state will ensure its safeguard towards restorations, exhibitions, and protect its future legacy. The ultimate aim of our project is to preserve and showcase each and every layer of a medieval church with mural paintings by means of a technological instrument that allows them both to be preserved, regularly updated by incorporating the results of new research and disseminating them considering different levels of interest and preparation.
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starting point

19th century

The discovery of medieval mural paintings began systematically with Prosper Merimée's work in the church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe (France). At the same time, concern for their conservation began.

Late 19th - early 20th century

Depending on the legal constraints of the different European countries and the technical possibilities, the wall paintings would either be preserved in situ, which is the option adopted in most countries, or separated from the walls and transferred to museums, which is the option adopted mainly in Spain. Two different techniques are used to separate mural paintings from the wall: detachment –stacco– or tearing –strappo–.

20th century

It slowly became evident that the preservation of wall paintings presents great difficulties. It is impossible to maintain suitable environmental conditions for such fragile elements when they are kept in situ, a circumstance exacerbated by tourism by the end of the century. However, preserving mural paintings in museums is also challenging, since these materials have undergone extreme trauma and may be seriously damaged.

Last quarter of the 20th century

A new problem is added to the ones previously noted: decontextualisation as a result of the separation of individual heritage elements is progressively perceived as a problem because it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to understand the monuments not only for the visitors, but often also for the managers of the monuments.

Late 20th century

The development of digital technologies starts to be seen, also in the field of heritage management, as an ally for the preservation of monuments.

Beginning of the 21st century

Major heritage digitisation projects spread around the world (photographic archives, manuscripts, documentary archives, libraries...) and meet humanities researchers and scholars. This lucky crossroads opened the door to a new era, that of Digital Humanities.

July 2019

First contacts between several Catalan universities (UB, UdG, UdL, UPC, UVic), the Italian universities of Roma Tre and Tuscia, and the Cypriot research centre Cyens take place and a project proposal is devised.

September 2019

The project EHEM: **Enhancement of Heritage Experiences: the Middle Ages. Digital Layered Models of Architecture and Mural Paintings over Time**, is presented. The project arises from the certainty that the use of digital technologies is fundamental for the protection and conservation of the medieval architectural and pictorial heritage. The digitisation of monuments is not enough: the resulting digital object cannot be just a still picture, but a dynamic tool that allows at the same time to preserve the monument and monitor its evolution. Three monuments with clearly different case histories have been chosen to develop this idea: - Santa Maria Antiqua (Rome, 6th-10th centuries): preserved in an archaeological site in the centre of Rome, with wall paintings (some of them detached) preserved within the monument. -Sant Quirze de Pedret (Cercs, Barcelona, 10th-12th centuries): preserved in a secluded woodland but heavily restored, its wall paintings have been detached and displaced in two museums (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and Museu Diocesà i Comarcal de Solsona). Agios Neophytos Monastery (Cyprus, 11th-15th centuries): rock monastery, with mural decorations preserved in situ coexistent with a strong tourist pressure.

End 2020

The project wins the Joint Programming Initiative in Cultural Heritage (JPICH), which receives funds grom the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

January 2021

Project kick-off.

ehem is:

monuments in a new light, with the help of the latest technologies but without giving up the experience gathered throughout the 20th century.

an effective interdisciplinary collaboration between art historians, architects, software engineers, conservators, and restorers. Trust us, it is hard, but the project is worth the effort to work together with those who do not speak the same jargon.

because it uses current advanced technology not only for simple reproduction nor to have a 3D copy of heritage but also to create instruments to monitor its state of conservation. A suite of tools for working on understanding and managing monuments more effectively.

architectural complexity, which is usually understood as a regularized geometrically, but not so in real world. Our previous experiences with art historians and architects working together reveals the enormous interest of a multidisciplinary dialogue in order to reach a real understanding of the construction of a building and its structural anomalies.

We raise and recommend the resolution of lighting problems. To date, trials have been carried out for the restitution of lighting in digital models based on the analysis of how natural light penetrates through the openings of a building. We also propose to deal with artificial lighting by means of light sources such as chandeliers or oil lamps, which produced effects of painting vibration when, for liturgical reasons, the images ‘acted’ as liturgical subjects.

Different restoration criteria followed over the years have resulted in notable differences in the current chromatic perception of the mural paintings, sometimes affecting fragments of the same ensemble. Conservation and restoration technicians will undertake analysis of pigments and determine the arrangement of the pictorial layers and the successive restorations that have been performed in every site, thus allowing us to digitally specify the original colouring of the paintings.

Facilitating citizens of all ages and conditions to get to know and interact with heritage in the friendliest and least invasive way is a duty of those who investigate and work with monuments and cultures.

team Spain

team leader

Milagros Guardia Pons

Full University Professor
Art History
Research Institute on Medieval Cultures (IRCVM)
Universitat de Barcelona
Barcelona, Catalonia

Universitat da Barcelona

Universitat de Barcelona


Full Professor
Art History

Juan Antonio Olañeta Molina

Adjunct Lecturer
Art History

Roser Piñol Bastida

Temporary Lecturer
Art History

Imanol Muñoz Pandiella

Research technician
Computer Science


Adjunct Lecturer
Art History

Universitat de Girona


Full Professor
Computer Science

Universitat de Lleida

Immaculada Lorés Otzet

Full University Professor
Art History

Esther Solé
i Martí

Adjunct Lecturer
Computer Science

Universitat politecnica catalunya
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Carlos Andújar Gran

Tenured University Lecturer
Computer Science

Genís Àvila

Adjunct Lecturer


Postdoctoral Researcher
Computer Science

Universitat de Vic-Central de Catalunya

Carles Bosch Geli

Tenured Track 2 Lecturer
Computer Science

Independent Researchers


Art History

Marc Comino Trinidad

Computer Science

team Cyprus

team leader

Panayiotis Charalambous

Research Team Leader (V-EUPNEA: Living, Breathing Virtual Worlds MRG)
Computer Graphics, Computer Animation
CYENS – Centre of Excellence
Nicosia, Cyprus

Cyens - Centre de excellence

Universitat de Barcelona


Professor at Cyprus University of Technology, Team Leader of BioScent MRG at CYENS CoE

Image Processing, Multimedia and Graphic Art

Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert

Associate Professor at Cyprus University of Technology, Team Leader of Museum Lab MRG at CYENS CoE

Museum Studies, Multimedia and Graphic Art

Theodoros Constantinou

Graphic Artist / Research Associate
Photogrammetry/ Drone Pilot


Research Associate
Art History

team Italy

team leader

Giulia Bordi

Associate Professor
Art History
Università degli Studi Roma Tre
Rome, Italy

team leader

Paola Luisa Pogliani

Assistant Professor
Art history
Università degli Studi della Tuscia

Roma Tre - Università degli Studi
Università degli Studi di Roma Tre

Marco Carli

Associate Professor

Angelica Federici

Temporary Research Fellow
Art History

Federica Pascucci

Associate Professor

Armida Sodo

Assistant Professor
Chemical Physics

Antonella Ballardini

Assistant Professor
Art history

Università degli Studi della Tuscia
Università degli Studi di Viterbo

Gaetano Alfano


Giuseppe Calabrò

Full Professor
Electric Engineering and Magnetic Fusion Energy

Claudia Colantonio

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Conservation of Cultural Heritage Engineering

Luca Lanteri

Computer Science

Claudia Pelosi

Assistant Professor
Analytical Chemistry