Commission on Crystallography in Art and Cultural Heritage

Commission web page


  • G. Artioli (Chair, Italy)
  • A. Rafalska-Lasocha (Secretary, Poland)
  • C. Abad-Zapatero (USA)
  • P. Bezdicka (Czech Republic)
  • E. Makovicky (Denmark)
  • I. Nakai (Japan)
  • F. Otalora Munoz (Spain)
  • A. Thalal (Morocco)


  • J.-M. Castera (France)
  • E. DooryhÊe (USA)
  • I. Hargittai (Hungary)
  • S. Hyde (Australia)
  • S. Quartieri (Italy)
  • J. Voss-Andreae (USA)

Terms of Reference

The Commission on Crystallography in Art and Cultural Heritage was formed at the Osaka Congress in 2008 and is concerned with two main issues:

  • Crystallography and symmetry in art;
  • Crystallographic analysis (e.g. diffraction-based) of artworks and ancient materials.

The terms of reference are:

  • To apply advanced crystallographic methods (theory, experiment) in the fields of art and cultural heritage;
  • To offer the crystallographic approach as a powerful analytical tool to all who are involved in materials research and microanalysis of artworks;
  • To strengthen links and interactions among crystallographers, mathematicians, materials scientists, artists, designers, architects, museum curators/conservators and archaeologists;
  • To favour scientific collaborations and thematic mobility/opening of (young) scientists with various backgrounds: crystal physics, crystal chemistry, forensic science, archaeological science, history of art and science, techniques of art,...;
  • To promote a common language in these fields;
  • To contribute to the recognition of crystallography as an interdisciplinary science (and not just as a technique or as a tool), particularly in those areas that are not necessarily perceived as being related to crystallographic concepts;
  • To encourage the development and dissemination of crystallographic concepts and techniques, in the studies of artefacts and archaeo-materials;
  • To use the disciplines of art and cultural heritage as an innovative support for educational purposes, focusing on the promotion and teaching of crystallography;
  • To promote the publication of relevant subjects in the journals of the IUCr;
  • To enhance the numerous analogies between art and crystallography;
  • To encourage the presence of scientists working in the fields of art and cultural heritage at IUCr meetings;
  • To support and organize art- and cultural-heritage-oriented symposia, which can be of interest to crystallographers during IUCr Congresses and meetings of Regional Associates;
  • To focus on cooperation and joint actions (including meetings, workshops and schools), in collaboration with other Commissions of the Union, particularly targeting post-graduate students and young scientists needing and willing to complete their education in crystallography;
  • To set up cooperation with the other Commissions of the Union, aiming at elaborating teaching materials for students with emphasis on the newest techniques used by crystallographers as a source of information for conservators and museum curators;
  • To ensure care and maintenance of the ‘crystallographic cultural heritage’, i.e. crystal models and historical documents; these are 2D or 3D representations and visual manifestations used as support for research/education in crystallography.