Hidden colours in stuccowork damaged by fire: A multi-analytical investigation for revealing the original decorative pattern

Year: 2016

Authors: Sansonetti A., Striova J., Biondelli D., Aliatis I., Rampazzi L.

Autors Affiliation: National Research Council (CNR), Istituto per la Conservazione e la Valorizzazione dei Beni Culturali, Via R. Cozzi 53, Milan, 20125, Italy; National Research Council (CNR), Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Universita di Firenze, Via Nello Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy; Dipartimento di Fisica e Scienze della Terra, Universita di Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 7/A, Parma, 43124, Italy; Dipartimento Scienza e Alta Tecnologia, Universita dell´Insubria, via Valleggio 11, Como, 22100, Italy

Abstract: The finishes applied on stuccoworks deserves in-depth analytical investigations. A complete chemical and morphological survey is very useful in reconstructing the artist´s technique, the history of the artworks through the sequence of the applied layers, and is needed as a basis for any conservation approach. Microscopic observations, both optical and electronic (SEM), and spectroscopic analyses (mu Raman, mu FTIR and EDS) of gilded and polychrome finishes on plaster relieves, were carried out on 17 samples from a celebrated neoclassical hall in the Royal Palace of Milan (Hall of Caryatids). The original decorative pattern had been damaged during a bomb-induced fire in the Second World War. Most of the surfaces have been fatally compromised and blackened by the effects of the fire. The survey presented here analysed the materials constituting the stucco surfaces and the damage induced by the fire. Green pigments were individuated and mapped, although no green surfaces were visible to the naked eye. It was therefore possible to reconstruct a decorative pattern painted in green, gold and white, similar to traditions of decoration in Austria and southern Germany.


Volume: 22      Pages from: 1055  to: 1060

KeyWords: μ-Raman; Fire damage; μ-FTIR; Gilded plaster; Chrome green
DOI: 10.1016/j.culher.2015.11.002

Citations: 7
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