Non-invasive techniques for revealing the palette of the Romantic painter Francesco Hayez

Rampazzi, Laura, Brunello, Valentina, Corti, Cristina and Lissoni, Elena (2017) Non-invasive techniques for revealing the palette of the Romantic painter Francesco Hayez. Spectrochimica Acta A, 176 . pp. 142-154. ISSN 1386-1425 [Article]

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Abstract (in English)

This paper describes the first systematic analysis of the palette of Francesco Hayez, one of the most outstanding artists of European Romanticism, whose painting technique has never been extensively investigated despite the plethora of artistic studies. He lived in a particular moment in the history of painting, as in the first half of the 19th century many synthetic pigments were available, also in tin tubes, but traditional materials were still used. Sixteen paintings on canvas and on panels, created between 1823 and 1868, were analyzed in situ through non-invasive techniques (infrared reflectography and infrared reflection spectroscopy). Imaging investigation provided clues on painting technique, revealing some cases of pentimenti and underdrawings. A preliminary survey was carried out on a hundred pure pigments used up to the 19th century and on new synthetic colours, in order to attain reference spectra for the interpretation of painting spectra. The portable infrared instrument provided insight into Hayez’s painting materials, identifying barite, ivory black, lead-tin yellow, Naples yellow, ochres, Prussian blue, and white lead. The pigments were often blended, to obtain a unique fabric appearance or to attain cold shades. The results pointed to a siccative oil as a binder, mixed with white lead so that it could act as a catalyzer in polymerization reactions, and in some cases with a proteinaceous binder and resins. The preparation was made with gypsum and white lead mixed with a siccative oil. The results showed that the artist used a typical traditional palette, throughout his career, in order to lead to brilliant colors and with long-term stability. Anyway, the possible presence of cobalt blue in a few paintings suggests that Hayez had probably started testing the new colours, since the second decade of 19th century.

Item Type: Article
Rampazzi, Laura
Brunello, Valentina
Corti, Cristina
Lissoni, Elena
Languages: English
Keywords: Non-invasive analysis; FTIR reflectance spectroscopy; infrared reflectography; pigments characterization
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 05. Collections (movable)
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Galleria Tadini (Lovere, Italy); Villa Carlotta (Tremezzina, Italy); Villa Vigoni (Menaggio, Italy); Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (Torino, Italy); Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (Roma, Italy); Musei Civici d’Arte e di Storia (Brescia, Italy)
Volume: 176
ISSN: 1386-1425
Depositing User: dr Laura Rampazzi
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2019 15:35
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2019 15:35
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