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Does substrate colour affect the visual appearance of gilded medieval sculptures? Part I: colorimetry and interferometric microscopy of gilded models


Wu, Qing; Hauldenschild, Meret; Rösner, Benedikt; Lombardo, Tiziana; Schmidt-Ott, Katharina; Watts, Benjamin; Nolting, Frithjof; Ganz, David (2020). Does substrate colour affect the visual appearance of gilded medieval sculptures? Part I: colorimetry and interferometric microscopy of gilded models. Heritage Science, 118(8):online.

Abstract

In the history of medieval gilding, a common view has been circulated for centuries that the substrate colour can influence the visual appearance of a gilded surface. In order to fully understand the correlation between the gilding substrate and the colour appearance of the gold leaf laid above, in this paper (Part I) analytical techniques such as colorimetry and interferometric microscopy are implemented on models made from modern gold leaves. This study demonstrates that the substrate colour is not perceptible for gold leaf of at least 100 nm thickness, however the surface burnishing can greatly alter the visual appearance of a gold surface, and the quality of the burnishing is dependent on the substrate materials. Additionally, surface roughness and texture of the substrate can play supplementary roles, which can be visually observed through digital microscopy and quantified through interferometric microscopy. The findings in this paper will form the basis for the study of gold leaf samples taken from medieval European gilded sculptures in Part II.

Abstract

In the history of medieval gilding, a common view has been circulated for centuries that the substrate colour can influence the visual appearance of a gilded surface. In order to fully understand the correlation between the gilding substrate and the colour appearance of the gold leaf laid above, in this paper (Part I) analytical techniques such as colorimetry and interferometric microscopy are implemented on models made from modern gold leaves. This study demonstrates that the substrate colour is not perceptible for gold leaf of at least 100 nm thickness, however the surface burnishing can greatly alter the visual appearance of a gold surface, and the quality of the burnishing is dependent on the substrate materials. Additionally, surface roughness and texture of the substrate can play supplementary roles, which can be visually observed through digital microscopy and quantified through interferometric microscopy. The findings in this paper will form the basis for the study of gold leaf samples taken from medieval European gilded sculptures in Part II.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Art History
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:23 November 2020
Deposited On:25 Nov 2020 09:54
Last Modified:22 Nov 2021 09:39
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:2050-7445
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-020-00463-3
Official URL:https://heritagesciencejournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40494-020-00463-3

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