Peter Fink-Jensen (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek) and Luise Ørsted Brandt (Centre for Urban Network Evolutions) will address the topic “The implementation of the natural sciences in the study of ancient polychromy.”
At the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, various analytical techniques are applied to investigate questions on ancient polychromy, which cannot be answered by traditional archaeological methods. This presentation will introduce two of these scientific approaches. The first approach utilizes microchemical analysis of trace elements and lead isotopes in colour pigments to investigate the pigment’s production history and material provenance, including mining origin, metallurgical processing, trade and implementation in classical Roman and Etruscan art. The second approach demonstrates how analysis of proteins from paint layers of ancient sculptures and architectural elements can enlighten the raw material source and species of ancient binding media. Such information can characterise ancient painting technologies and help make reconstructions of painted sculptures with the original optical appearance. The two approaches demonstrate true cross-disciplinary research and describe the steps by which ancient pigments and binding media were processed from original raw material to artistic application on ancient polychrome art works.