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Unraveling colour making and painting technique of a polyptych from the 16th century Portuguese painter Francisco João

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Comunicação Comunicação sob a forma de poster
Autores Helena Melo, António Candeias, José Mirão, Sara Valadas, António João Cruz
Evento 1st International Congress Chemistry for Cultural Heritage (ChemCH), University of Bologna
Local Ravenna, Palazzo dei Congressi, 30 de Junho a 3 de Julho de 2010
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Resumo This paper discusses the painting technique of a group of four panel paintings belonging to a dismembered polyptych attributed to Francisco João, the most important painter working in the region of Évora, South of Portugal, between 1563 and 1595, and whose painting production is currently the subject of a scientific program that aims at identifying the materials and techniques of his workshop. The investigation is focussed on the study of the paint layers with the aim of under- standing the painter’s working methods in aspects relating to colour making and colour effects. The characterisation of the pigments’ mixtures and the build-up of paint layers was done through the close inspection of the paintings’ surface and the examination under the optical microscope of thirty paint cross-sections. The pig- ments were identified using optical microscopy, Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy (µ-FTIR) and variable pressure scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS). The results obtained show the use of local undermodelling under the blue, green and red areas of drap- ery and allowed the identification of the pigments used. Several colour changes were identified, particularly in the white-greyish areas, corresponding to smalt and azurite, as well as in green-brown and red areas revealing that special attention should be paid when observing and interpreting a painter’s colour palettte.
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