Giovanni Verri


  • Strand, Somerset House

    WC2R 0RN London

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Giovanni Verri graduated in Physics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, with a dissertation on technical imaging applied to paintings and he completed a PhD at the same institution with a dissertation on Nuclear Activation Analysis.

Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, where he studied prehistoric flint tools using a particle accelerator, Giovanni collaborated with the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, US, on a project entitled Organic Materials in Wall Paintings. This project aimed to deepen the present understanding of the use of organic materials in wall paintings by means of scientific investigations.

While working on this project, he became interested in conservation-related issues. He then decided to study for a Masters in Conservation of Wall Painting at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where he worked on the Buddhist wall paintings in Mogao, Dunhuang, China. He completed the course in 2007 and in the same year was appointed a Mellon Fellow at the British Museum, where he developed multispectral imaging for the conservation of artistic and archaeological materials. Special attention was given to the development and implementation of visible-induced luminescence digital photography, a novel technology for the non-invasive identification of Egyptian blue, Han blue and Han purple. Using visible-induced luminescence imaging, it was possible to prove, for the first time, that the frieze and the pedimental sculptures of the Parthenon at the British Museum were originally painted using Egyptian blue.

He applied the same imaging technique on several artworks, including Han terracotta beads at the British Museum, the sarcophagus of Seti I at the Sir John Soane’s Museum; the wall paintings in the Tomb of Tutankhamen, as part of a project coordinated by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Egyptian Antiquity Authority; the tomb paintings of Nebamum; the Mausoleum at Halykarnassos, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos at the British Museum; the Acropolis Monuments, the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and the Royal Tombs in Vergina, Greece.

Building on his practical conservation experience in Mogao, Giovanni coordinates with Professor David Park the MA Buddhist Art: History and Conservation. Generously funded by an endowment by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundationof Hong Kong, the programme combines the separate studies of Buddhism, Buddhist art and its conservation.

The MA includes teaching and research in the three principal areas of Buddhist studies, Buddhist art history, and conservation theory and approaches. Taught by a wide range of distinguished professionals, the programme also includes extended visits to important Buddhist sites and collections for first-hand study. A research dissertation allows eight students to explore subjects of particular interest. The MA leads to careers or further study in conservation, art history, site management, curating, and Buddhist studies.

Research interests

  • Multispectral Imaging
  • Technical analysis of painted surfaces
  • Ancient Greek and Roman polychromy / painted sculpture
  • Buddhist art and its conservation

Special Awards, Honours & Distinctions


Honorary Research Fellow, The British Museum. Subject: Leverhulme-funded research project LuminArt on the photo luminescence properties of painting materials. 



Visiting Professorship awardedUniversity of Padua, Italy. Subject: Analysis of Gandharan art from excavations in Pakistan(duration 1 month). 



Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation FIIC (application in process). 



ICOM-CC Assistant Coordinator for the International Council of Museums–Committee for Conservation, Murals, Stone and Rock Art Working Group.





Courtauld, Research Committee: The technical examination of a unique painted Roman bust from Bursa, Turkey. Principal investigator, 1-month, £750.





Leverhulme Trust Research GrantLuminArtPhotoluminescence imaging and spectroscopy of painting and conservation material. Principal investigator, 3-years, £156,792.


  • MA Buddhist Art: History and Conservation

PhD Students


  • Elisabeth Woolley, ‘Victorian mural painting: revivalist art, revolutionary technology’

Education/Academic qualification

'An Investigation of Corrected UV-induced Fluorescence for the Examination of Polychromy (Mark 81)', The Courtauld Institute of Art


Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


'Fast Neutron Activation Analysis of Gold', University of Ferrara


… → 2000

University of Bologna

… → 1999

'Multispectral Imaging for the Analysis of Painted Surfaces', University of Ferrara


External positions

University College, London


The British Museum


The Getty Conservation Institute



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