Telling the story of the objects that have accompanied mankind throughout most of its history and continue to capture our attention, curiosity and imagination.
We are focused on the study and critical analysis of how historical glass and ceramic has developed over time, including raw materials, production and practices, use, commercial routes and cultural interactions. This research analyzes the choices behind the production, shapes and uses of the objects to construct a bigger narrative from individual microscale stories. These historical objects are not merely curiosities, sometimes beautiful in their physical appearance. Many of them have fascinating stories very worth telling, and we suggest those stories are very worth hearing as well.
Glass instruments: laboratorium chemicum, observatorium and Lanterna Magica
- VICARTE will start the first systematic and comprehensive study of painted glass slides for projection with Magic Lanterns. We will link the analysis of the historical materials, the reproduction of the historical recipes and the development of preservation methodologies for several collections; in particular of Cinemateca Portuguesa, MIMO, Museu da Ciência e História Natural, ULisboa and Museu da Ciência da UCoimbra. Technical and contextual results will be incorporated into Lucerna– the Magic Lantern Web Resource.
- In collaboration with UL Observatório, the telescope will be deconstructed in its individual parts, focusing on its vitreous components and their role in the formation of visible images, and reconstructed in new photographic devices in art installations.
Everyday functional and decorative objects: production evolution and contexts of use
VICARTE will continue to approach the history, disclose cultural contacts and archaeological contexts of ancient and historical glass and ceramics, aiming to place the objects in their time and physical space in order to better understand their functioning in daily life.
Ancient and traditional production techniques will be studied, combining the analysis of historical materials with the making of reproductions in controlled conditions. We will identify chemical compositions and possible raw materials, place and time of production, as well as the specialization involved in the making. Archaeometric study of individual objects will be complemented with exploration of key documents with high impact on the history of production. We will follow the evolution of the recipes for glass and ceramics production, relating them with technology, chemistry and material science. This will be carried out in close collaboration with the RUs C2TN and IEM, Iramat CNRS-Orléans and ERC project Artechne.
With this approach, we expect to disclose the chemical and physical phenomena responsible for aesthetic effects, opening new possibilities for both artists and industry, inspiring the creation of new artworks and products.
For more information visit
Lanterna Magica website
Historical Glass Studies
Painting With Light
White Glazes: the foundations of the Portuguese faience technology
The Stained Glass Collection of Ferdinand II