The pigments used by artists since ancient times play an important role in historical, artistic, and cultural investigations. They allow the acquisition of useful information for the study of human and technological development. This research aims at differentiating the various sources of azurite exploited in antiquity, based on the study of minor and trace elements. Azurite is one of the most important blue pigments in art history, widely used during the Middle Age and Renaissance. However, very few studies investigated the provenance of the pigment, so today it is still not possible to clearly identify the sources of azurite exploited in the past. This study is based on the analysis of several samples of azurite belonging to the MUST collection (Museum of Earth Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy) and coming from different historical localities: UK, Italy, Germany, France, Romania and Slovakia (both representative of the resources within the ancient Kingdom of Hungary), Greece and Russia. The samples were analysed by electron microscopy (EMPA and SEM-EDX) and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), with the aim of detecting chemical features that are specific to the different azurite ore deposits.Among the trace elements analysed, Zn, As, Sn, Ca and Sr prove the most suitable for discriminating the origin of the samples, as well as rare earth elements. In particular, Ce and Eu anomalies are suggested as markers for the German and Hungarian localities.

The blue road: Provenance study of azurite samples from historical locations through the analysis of minor and trace elements

Petrelli, M.;
2023

Abstract

The pigments used by artists since ancient times play an important role in historical, artistic, and cultural investigations. They allow the acquisition of useful information for the study of human and technological development. This research aims at differentiating the various sources of azurite exploited in antiquity, based on the study of minor and trace elements. Azurite is one of the most important blue pigments in art history, widely used during the Middle Age and Renaissance. However, very few studies investigated the provenance of the pigment, so today it is still not possible to clearly identify the sources of azurite exploited in the past. This study is based on the analysis of several samples of azurite belonging to the MUST collection (Museum of Earth Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy) and coming from different historical localities: UK, Italy, Germany, France, Romania and Slovakia (both representative of the resources within the ancient Kingdom of Hungary), Greece and Russia. The samples were analysed by electron microscopy (EMPA and SEM-EDX) and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), with the aim of detecting chemical features that are specific to the different azurite ore deposits.Among the trace elements analysed, Zn, As, Sn, Ca and Sr prove the most suitable for discriminating the origin of the samples, as well as rare earth elements. In particular, Ce and Eu anomalies are suggested as markers for the German and Hungarian localities.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1567422
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