Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTERFACE (paINTed mEtal aRteFActs ConsErvation)
Reporting period: 2018-09-03 to 2020-09-02
This project focused on composite artworks made of painted metal. Indeed, the particular use of metals as “canvas” has never been investigated even though many masterpieces were created using this technique. The degradation mechanisms occurring to metal artefacts as well as to paints as single materials are known. However, rare studies about painted metals and paint-metal interactions have been undertaken so far. Indeed, there is an extended lack of knowledge about the degradation processes that occur on such artefacts and about the conservation methodology to adopt. The project INTERFACE (paINTed mEtal aRteFActs ConsErvation) aimed to fill this lack of scientific information, having two main objectives:
1. The characterisation of the degradation mechanisms, with particular attention to the processes occurring at the paint-metal interface;
2. The development of a conservation methodology to preserve both paint film and metal substrate.
In particular, the decay mechanisms and the conservation approaches of copper and iron as substrates decorated with linseed oil paints were investigated.
After the characterization of the degradation processes, the project focused its attention to the study of potential conservation treatments to be applied for the preservation of paintings on copper and iron plates. Two different corrosion inhibitors for the protection of iron and one corrosion inhibitor and two varnishes for the protection of copper were selected and tested (WP3 and partially WP4). The main characteristics tested were the compatibility with both materials, efficiency on paint and metal degradations, aestheticism and minimal colour variation after treatment and safeness for human and environment. Right after the application of the products on bare samples, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were performed to assess the efficiency of each product, as well as optical microscopy (OM) and colorimetry were performed to evaluate the colour variation. For each metal substrate one product or a mixture of two were selected as the most suitable to be used for the protection of these artefacts.
Furthermore, an extended in-situ measurements campaign was performed at the Gallerie Nazionali Braberini Corsini on real artworks. Several paintings on copper were analysed by non-invasive analytical techniques. Particular attention was paid to the characterization of degradation processes occurring on the artworks.
So far, the project resulted in one peer reviewed paper and two MSc thesis:
1) M. Albini, S. Ridolfi, C. Giuliani, M. Pascucci, M. P. Staccioli, C. Riccucci. Multi-Spectroscopic Approach for the Non-invasive Characterization of Paintings on Metal Surfaces. Frontiers in Chemistry, 2020 (doi: 10.3389/fchem.2020.00289)
2) Loredana Modanesi, Msc Thesis: Studio e caratterizzazione dei processi di degrado in dipinti a olio su supporti di rame. 2020, Sapienza Università di Roma
3) Flavia bravetti, Msc Thesis: Study of conservation treatments for the preservation of oil paintings on metal plates. 2020, Sapienza Università di Roma
The project and its results were also presented during two international conferences and one national workshop.