Challenges of Conservation and Restoration of a Medieval Wall Painting in the Church of Saint Leonard in Mala Ligojna and the Question of Its Authorship


  • Eva Marija Fras



Gothic wall painting, conservation and restoration, secondary coating, consolidation


The Church of Saint Leonard is positioned on a hill above a small village called Mala Ligojna in central Slovenia. The Baroque architecture shows elements of medieval origins. Under many secondary whitewashes, fragments of an approximately 500-year-old secco wall painting were discovered. The conservation and restoration project started in the year 2020 by removing the secondary coatings of limewash on the northern wall. During the work process, some challenges regarding the original painting were addressed and possibilities for uncovering and consolidating preserved intonaco and the paint layer were explored. Research on the binder, pigments, and the substrate was executed, which led to the use of a specific consolidation system. During the work process we researched the authorship of the painting. The research included the review of different Gothic stencils, brocade and border patterns, and the system of transferring the drawings and identifying the incisions. The patterns show similarities to some known Gothic wall painters in Slovenia, who inherited their knowledge from the masters of the international Gothic style. By carrying out projects like this, the church’s history is being revealed and the knowledge of the medieval wall paintings in Slovenia is expanding.

Author Biography

Eva Marija Fras

In my early years I observed my father, who carried out conservation and restoration procedures on various kinds of artworks. He introduced me to the importance of conservation and restoration of cultural heritage and engaged me in my first project when I started to explore the field. I finished my high school education as a graphic designer and attended the entrance exam at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana for the department of conservation and restoration. For approximately the past ten years, I have been active in the field of conservation-restoration of sacral wooden heritage, mostly golden altars, pulpits, and wooden sculptures of the seventeenth century. I also engaged in different projects, including the conservation of Romanesque and Gothic wall paintings and restoration of an early modern brass altar, Baroque pulpits, and classicistic altars.

In the last few years, I redirected my field of study to mural paintings, where I explored the problem of complex salts and coating removal. For my master’s assignment, I am working on the Gothic wall painting in Mala Ligojna, where a complete conservation-restoration procedure is being performed.

Wall painting in the church of Saint Leonard in Mala Ligonja (Slovenia), fragment. Photo by Eva Marija Fras, 2020




How to Cite

Fras, E. M. (2023). Challenges of Conservation and Restoration of a Medieval Wall Painting in the Church of Saint Leonard in Mala Ligojna and the Question of Its Authorship. Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, (108), 158–191.