Prato experience a perfect opportunity for Jessica

Jessica Caissutti
Jessica Caissutti

It’s relatively rare to be able to  combine a passion for engineering and arts in a single university subject. But  for Jessica Caissutti, spending time in Italy studying Diagnostics for Cultural Heritage was the ideal blend of both  disciplines.

“When this subject came up, it was the  perfect mix of everything. It was such a great opportunity, I didn’t want to  miss it,” Jessica said.

Jessica is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Materials Science and Engineering and Bachelor of Arts courses at Monash University, and as part of her studies, she spent two weeks studying at Monash’s Prato Campus under Professor Maurizio Seracini, an Italian art diagnostician.

Professor Seracini is well known for his detective work  in cultural heritage engineering, such as searching for the lost Leonardo da Vinci mural, The Battle of Anghiari in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Professor Seracini has also performed diagnostic work on Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi.

Professor Seracini regaled the group of students with tales  from his work, which Jessica described as amazing. “There was never a dull moment in class!” she said.

The science and engineering techniques which Professor Seracini shared left a lasting impression on Jessica.

The students learnt about the use of the light spectrum and its wavelengths to delve into the different layers of a  painting. They also had after-hours access to the Florence Baptistery and museums as part of their curriculum.

They were shown how to utilise geo-radar to scan under the grounds and bricks of the Baptistery. Jessica says these  techniques are non-intrusive and would not affect the artefacts.

“It was so great to be immersed in Italian culture and to feel so at home with engineering and art all around me,” Jessica enthused. “Now I never look at art the same way, it’s really changed my view of everything,” she said.

Applications to study ENG2121: Diagnostics for Cultural Heritage in 2016 are open until August 1, 2016. For more information, click here