Unexpected Findings in 16th Century Wall Paintings: Identification of Aragonite and Unusual Pigments

Rampazzi, Laura, Corti, Cristina, Geminiani, Ludovico and Recchia, Sandro (2021) Unexpected Findings in 16th Century Wall Paintings: Identification of Aragonite and Unusual Pigments. Heritage, 4 . pp. 2431-2448. ISSN 2571-9408 [Article]


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Abstract (in English)

Sixteenth century wall paintings were analyzed from a church in an advanced state of decay in the Apennines of central Italy, now a remote area but once located along the salt routes from the Po Valley to the Ligurian Sea. Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with a microprobe were used to identify the painting materials, as input for possible future restoration. Together with the pigments traditionally used for wall painting, such as ochre, ultramarine blue, bianco di Sangiovanni, cinnabar/vermilion, azurite, some colors were also found to have only been used since the 18th century. This thus suggests that a series of decorative cycles occurred after the church was built, confirmed by the multilayer stratigraphy of the fragments. Some of these colors were also unusual, such as clinochlore, Brunswick green, and ultramarine yellow. The most notable result of the analytical campaign however, was the ubiquitous determination of aragonite, the mineralogical form of calcium carbonate, mainly of biogenic origin. Sources report its use in Roman times as an aggregate in mortars, and in the literature it has only been shown in Roman wall paintings. Its use in 16th century wall paintings is thus surprising

Item Type: Article
Rampazzi, Laura
Corti, Cristina
Geminiani, Ludovico
Recchia, Sandro
Languages: English
Keywords: Aragonite; Brunswick green; clinochlore; FTIR; mortars; SEM-EDX; ultramarine yellow; vermilion; wall paintings; XRD
Subjects: A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 06. History of architecture
C.ARCHITECTURE > 05. Building techniques
C.ARCHITECTURE > 08. Wall paintings
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Church of Santo Stefano (Selva di Cerignale, Piacenza, Italy)
Volume: 4
ISSN: 2571-9408
Depositing User: dr Laura Rampazzi
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2021 21:57
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2021 21:57
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URI: https://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/2531

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