The examination of pigments and media from the painted wooden ceiling of St Michael's Church at Hildesheim, W. Germany

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Denninger, Edgar;


Studies in conservation, Volume 14, Number 3, p.91-95 (1969)


ceilings, Germany), Medieval, pigment, polychrome, S. Michael (Hildesheim, tempera


S. Michael's at Hildesheim, a Benedictine cloister church built in the 11th century, was provided, towards the end of the 12th century, with a painted ceiling consisting of oak boards. It represents the so-called "root of Jesse," the genealogical tree of Jesus Christ. The ceiling, preserved in its original state except for a small part which was destroyed during the 17th century, was painted in lime-casein tempera. It was taken down in 1943 to protect it from destruction through air raids. It was restored from 1955 to 1960. Later repaints were taken off and the original state regained. The pigments examined were identified as those known from the High Middle Ages, i.e., lapis lazuli, orpiment, natural vermilion, charcoal, green earth, ocher, verdigris, as well as lime white, which has been described by Cennini as bianco di San Giovanni. Lead white has not been identified in any of the specimens analyzed.