A Scientific and Historical Investigation on Italian Scagliola

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Baraldi, Pietro; Colombini, Maria Perla; Cannalire, Laura;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 54, Number 1, p.23-34 (2009)


Fragments from works of art made of scagliola, a material typical of northern Italy imitating marble, were investigated. The fragments are representative of art objects that were once widespread in the region centred on the town of Carpi. Vibrational spectroscopic techniques were applied in order to identify the pigments used to tint the gypsum paste; in particular, Raman microscopy was used for the identification of pigment particles. Pyrolysis gas chromatography combined with mass spectroscopy was used to identify binding media. Several documents were examined, both ancient and recent, preserved in local archives, describing the pigments and dyes and the techniques used in the preparation of scagliola. The information provided in these documents was compared to results obtained from scientific analysis.