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PAINTING AND MORTARS FROM VILLA ADRIANA, TIVOLI (ROME, ITALY)

Keywords: Attenuated total reflectance (ATR) , polarizing microscope , Roman frescoes , stucco , aggregate , Egyptian blue , cinnabar

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Abstract:

Villa Adriana is a Roman building dating back to 117-138AD. The emperor Hadrian built this construction which ischaracterised by numerous buildings of different uses:pavilions, gardens and nymphaeums. In our work we aimedto identify the materials used both in pigments and in mortars(binders and aggregates). Attenuated Total Reflection(ATR) infrared spectroscopy and Scanning ElectronMicroscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy(SEM-EDS) have been used to study the pigments, whichhave been classified as inorganic. Expensive pigments,such as Egyptian blue and cinnabar have been used. X-RayDiffraction (XRD), obser vations by polarizing microscopyand ATR-FTIR analyses have been used to study mortars,which have been divided in two fractions: binder and aggregate,after an acidic digestion. The material used to preparethe fresco preparation layers is a local aggregate ofvolcanic origin coming from the Alban Hills, while the carbonaticbinders come from a different area in Abruzzese.

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