Temperature and humidity monitoring with NOVUS devices helps to preserve the artistic heritage of Rio Grande do Sul

The conservation of historical documents and work of arts is one of the most important ways to preserve the culture and memory of a particular group, period or place. Thanks to advances in science and technology, it is possible that today we can admire the real versions of paintings such as “Mona Lisa” (1506) by Leonardo da Vinci, or “The Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh. To maintain the original characteristics of paintings for much longer and without the need for major interventions, the best way is to protect them from humidity, light and heat.

The artistic collection of Porto Alegre City Hall consists of two important pinacothecas and both have NOVUS devices for monitoring temperature and humidity. It is known that humidity, in any way, causes several damages to works of art, such as expansion of the support or appearance of fungi that will create stains and weakening of the pictorial layer. Heat is also extremely harmful since it can dry out the paintings, causing stains and requiring a restoration process.

A 19th century mansion located in the center of Porto Alegre shelters the Ruben Berta Pinacotheca. The origin of the collection dates back to the 1960s, when the communication magnate Assis Chateaubriand had the project of creating regional museums in various parts of the country. Today, the pinacotheca has 125 works of art in its permanent collection. Among them, the oldest painting in public collection at Rio Grande do Sul, “O Rejalma” (1673), by the Dutch Jeronimus Van Diest. In addition, the collection includes important names of Brazilian modernism, such as Di Cavalcanti and Portinari, and contemporary works.

More than a thousand works of art compose the Aldo Locatelli Pinacotheca located in Paço Municipal (former city hall of Porto Alegre). The first paintings to be included the collection were ordered at the end of 18th century and throughout 19th century by the City Council. In addition to their aesthetical function, the works of art were a way of showing political power through images of the royal family, military heroes and presidents. Today, the place continuously receives new works of art in permanent or temporary art exhibitions and works of art from guest artists. Among his paintings are works by important artists from Rio Grande do Sul such as Pedro Weingärtner and Vasco Prado.

Three devices are used to carefully monitor the status of these important collections and to help determine when an object needs to be restored: the RHT-Air wireless humidity and temperature transmitter, the AirGate-Modbus gateway and the acquisition and data logging module FieldLogger. Together, they enable temperature and humidity information to be measured and recorded, as well as enabling the configuration of alarms by email in non-compliance cases.

The choice of RHT-Air in the solution was not by accident: the mansion that shelters the Ruben Berta Pinacotheca and the Paço Municipal are buildings of great architectural and historical value, where any structure modification can be harmful to the heritage.

The project of the two pinacothecas took three years to be approved, but today we have the adequate monitoring of temperature and humidity in the exhibition rooms and warehouse of two of the most important art collections in Rio Grande do Sul. It is NOVUS helping to preserve culture and memory.