How Different Analytical and Stylistics Investigations Can Help in Describing Artefacts Made of Non-coeval Parts: the Imago Pietatis in Breno
Zuccolo M., Borgonovo G., Mazzini S., Tovini M.A., Troletti F., Cocchi F., Bassoli A., Giorgi A.
Studies in ConservationNumber
Valcamonica is an Italian Alpine valley that has been the transit route for people and goods in prehistoric, Roman, medieval, and modern times. This led to the presence of artefacts from different eras and/or the occurrence of artefacts made of non-coeval parts. This research reports the characterization of an artefact in the Museum of Breno (Brescia Province). It is surmised that the artwork is made of different and non-coeval parts. The aim of the research is to investigate the natural pigments dyeing the different parts of the artefact, to infer information also on the origin and the dating. The investigation is supported by different analytical techniques (microscopic, spectroscopic, chromatographic, and spectrometric evaluation). The artifact is an Imago Pietatis, with Christ emerging from the tomb with his open arms. Microscopic observation allowed a preliminary evaluation of the colouration and to hypothesis the pigments used. 1H NMR analysis and spectrophotometric analysis suggested the presence of Tyrian purple and logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum) in the background of the sacred image, that was probably a liturgical vestment dismembered and overdyed. It is very likely that the image was in use to a brotherhood of Disciplini, a secular congregation very active in Valcamonica whose activities consisted in praying for the dead and making processions. Our work was important for the narration of this artefact and could be useful for the reconstruction of the object in the original colours, for providing to the local stakeholders a suitable recognition for this historical discovery.