ESR2

Polychromy in architectural elements and sculpted artefacts

ESR2: Polychromy in architectural elements and sculpted artefacts. (@ UCPH, supervisor EC)

Objectives: MS-based ancient protein sequencing will be used to confidently identify the biological species of origin and the raw materials, such as milk or egg fractions, used as binders in the polychromy decorating ancient sculptures and architecture (marble, alabaster, limestone).

Expected Results: The project will allow to better understand the original appearance of painted objects. This knowledge will be fundamental to plan long-term preservation and restoration and to define optimal conservation and display conditions. The proposed methodology also allows retrieving and quantifying patterns of degradation affecting ancient protein residues, to distinguish original paint traces and later treatments and brush-ups, ideally providing direct evidence to reconstruct the history of conservation for a specific object.


Understanding which protein paint binders were used to paint statues and architectural decorative elements

has paramount relevance in leading to a better understanding and perception of the original appearance of painted objects. This knowledge will also be fundamental to plan long-term preservation and restoration, to define optimal conservation and display conditions, as well as to prevent or reduce decay processes.

Proteomic analysis will be applied to a number of selected paint samples from architectural elements and sculpted artefacts in the collection of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (NCG). Focus will primarily be on artefacts in stone (marble, alabaster, limestone), and unfired materials. The proposed methodology also allows retrieving and quantifying patterns of degradation affecting ancient protein residues, to distinguish original paint traces and later treatments and brush-ups, ideally providing direct evidence to reconstruct the history of conservation for a specific object. Ultimately, this will provide a crucial contribution to the study of ancient art and architecture, since it will provide vital information on the appearance of the original colours and the techniques employed to obtain them.

Networking. Within TEMPERA, ESR 2 will interact more closely with:

  1. ESR1: ESR 2 will spend a secondment period of 3 months in UoL to share and compare experience in paint binders analysis.
  2. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek: ESR 2 will spend a secondment period of 1-2 months at the conservation section of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (NCG) to optimise, together with curators and restorers, the most effective and less invasive sampling procedure. Sample collection will take place in close collaboration with the conservation section of the NCG.
  3. ESR 6: ESR 2 will interact regularly with ESR 6, also based at UCPH to implement the analytical improvements ESR 6 will develop as part of his/her research and development project.
  4. ESR1 will share samples with UCAS, to contrast with pigment investigations on materials in China and ESR2

Planned secondment(s): 3 months at UoL to share and compare experience in paint binders analysis, 2 months at NCG to optimise, together with curators and restorers, the most effective and less invasive sampling procedure.

DISCLAIMER: The information reported on this website reflects only the TEMPERA consortium view. The European Research Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

🇪🇺 This project has received funding from the European Union's EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 under Grant Agreement No. 722606. 🇪🇺