The Vitrocentre aims to combine art-historical, conservational and technological approaches in its work. Technical assessment has, in fact, always been an integral part of the art-historical inventories for the Corpus Vitrearum. Technological analysis has also proved to be of great interest in the area of reverse painting on glass, barely researched until now. Indeed, one of the main objectives of the donation of the Ruth and Frieder Ryser Collection to the Vitrocentre was to further this kind of research, for which it constitutes an ideal base of reference.

The Vitrocentre carries out research both in the form of individual projects, and in providing services to third parties. It has an infrastructure centred on the study and documentation of the visual phenomena of the works of art, and cooperates with partner laboratories for scientific analyses.

The main focuses of research are:

  • Historical painting techniques in stained glass and reverse painting on glass
  • Glass technology
  • Historical leading

Conservation of stained glass

Our cultural heritage of historic stained glass is at risk. Deterioration is due in part to the way in which it is made. Immediate environmental factors also play a considerable role, so that the conservation of these windows is often linked to questions of climate, and to their function in the building, as well as to the conservation of the building itself.

The Vitrocentre therefore undertakes research into the historic techniques of stained glass; the deterioration process in a broad environmental context; and methods of conservation. Particular interest is taken in the history of the window, and in preventative conservation methods (protective glazing).

The Vitrocentre is very active in consultancy in this area, and coordinates with private workshops for the actual conservation work; it also furthers specialist education.

Guidelines for the conservation and restoration of stained glass; Corpus Vitrearum/ICOMOS (PDF).



+41 (0)26 652 18 34
Francine Giese and Sophie Wolf

Conservation of reverse painting on glass

Reverse paintings on glass are very fragile works of art, and sensitive to their environment. Little is yet known about the techniques employed in their creation, and specialised restorers are few and far between. The Vitrocentre is putting a great deal of effort into researching the techniques and conservation of reverse paintings on glass, based primarily on the excellent source provided by the Ruth and Frieder Ryser Collection. The Centre can prepare, coordinate and monitor restoration work. It also furthers specialist education in the field.


+41 (0)26 652 18 34
Elisa Ambrosio