This article is part of the Journal of Raman Spectroscopy special issue entitled “Raman spectroscopy in art and archaeology” edited by Juan Manuel Madariaga and Danilo Bersani.
A novel piece of Minoan art in Italy: the first spectroscopic study of the wall paintings from Phaistos†
Article first published online: 26 JUL 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Raman Spectroscopy
Special Issue: Raman spectroscopy in art and archaeology
Volume 43, Issue 11, pages 1663–1670, November 2012
How to Cite
Zoppi, A., Lofrumento, C., Ricci, M., Cantisani, E., Fratini, T. and Castellucci, E. M. (2012), A novel piece of Minoan art in Italy: the first spectroscopic study of the wall paintings from Phaistos. J. Raman Spectrosc., 43: 1663–1670. doi: 10.1002/jrs.4029
- Issue published online: 21 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 26 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 16 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Received: 10 NOV 2011
- Bronze Age;
- wall painting;
Some fragments of wall paintings of Phaistos (Crete), belonging to the Bronze Age, from the Archaeological National Museum of Florence, were analysed to investigate the material composition of their pictorial layers and to explore the pictorial technology. These samples belong to the oldest surviving examples of decorative polychrome painting on plaster from Crete and constitute a further document in the frame of the already known evidences of painted materials from the palatial sites. The wall painting fragments were studied to define the composition of the paint layers and of the plaster used as substrate, and to classify the painting method. The coloured strata were investigated through micro-Raman analyses by acquiring the vibrational spectra on different points selected for every hue, whereas for the plaster, different techniques were employed such as optical microscopy, X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. In accordance with similar Aegean Bronze painted plasters, the obtained results show a rather homogenous colour palette mostly made of mineral pigments, which recur in the different tones in all the fragments. The absence of organic binders and the possibility to differentiate calcite grains present in the painting layers from that present in the plaster underneath were indicative of fresco–secco technique. On the whole, the obtained results could be considered as valuable archaeological indicators for the contribution they could offer to the comprehension of the painting techniques and the materials used in Crete during the Medium Minoan period. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.