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Pigment identification using x-ray fluorescence in a polychromated sculpture by Pedro Millán

AuthorsKrižnar, Anabelle ; Muñoz, M. V.; Paz, F. de la; Respaldiza, M. A. ; Vega, Mercedes
Issue Date2008
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationX-Ray Spectrometry 37(4): 355-359 (2008)
AbstractPedro Millán is considered one of the more important Andalusian sculptors from the medieval period. He worked mainly in Seville, where he is documented between 1485 and 1507. Most of his sculptures were made of terracotta and then polychromated and gilded. Some of his works exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Seville are characterised by relatively well-preserved polychromation. His sculpture Christ Man of Sorrows (1485-1503) was selected for the non-destructive x-ray fluorescence examination. Using this technique, pigments and support were analysed. The predominant elements, Ca and Fe, and a lesser presence of other elements, such as Mg, Si and Mn, demonstrate that the sculpture is indeed of terracotta. A high presence of Pb was detected in all the selected areas, related in part to the preparation/imprimation layer, and in part to a Pb-based compound used as a pigment or as a dryer. The analysis shows that the red colour is cinnabar (Hg). The blue pigment is azurite (Cu), possibly mixed with vivianite (Fe). The green colour was made using a copper-based pigment. The brown colour is an earth pigment, probably toasted umbra (Mn, Fe). In particular parts of the sculpture, gold was confirmed for decorative elements. Traces of silver were found in parts of the sculpture, but we do not have a clear answer to account for its presence yet. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1002/xrs.1020
issn: 0049-8246
e-issn: 1097-4539
Appears in Collections:(CNA) Artículos
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