Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Egyptian blue found in Romanesque altarpiece (ESPAŅA)
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology ^ | May 5, 2010 | Unknown

Posted on 05/05/2010 11:14:00 AM PDT by decimon

A team of researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB) has discovered remains of Egyptian blue in a Romanesque altarpiece in the church of Sant Pere de Terrassa (Barcelona). This blue pigment was used from the days of ancient Egypt until the end of the Roman Empire, but was not made after this time. So how could it turn up in a 12th Century church?

Egyptian blue or Pompeian blue was a pigment frequently used by the ancient Egyptians and Romans to decorate objects and murals. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476 AD), this pigment fell out of use and was no longer made. But a team of Catalan scientists has now found it in the altarpiece of the 12th Century Romanesque church of Sant Pere de Terrassa (Barcelona). The results of this research have just been published in the journal Archaeometry.

"We carried out a systematic study of the pigments used in the altarpiece during restoration work on the church, and we could show that most of them were fairly local and 'poor' – earth, whites from lime, blacks from smoke – and we were completely unprepared for Egyptian blue to turn up", Mario Vendrell, co-author of the study and a geologist from the UB's Grup Patrimoni research group, told SINC.

The researcher says the preliminary chemical and microscopic study made them suspect that the samples taken were of Egyptian blue. To confirm their suspicions, they analysed them at the Daresbury SRS Laboratory in the United Kingdom, where they used X-ray diffraction techniques with synchrotron radiation. It will be possible to carry out these tests in Spain once the ALBA Synchrotron Light Facility at Cerdanyola del Vallés (Barcelona) comes into operation.

"The results show without any shadow of a doubt that the pigment is Egyptian blue", says Vendrell, who says it could not be any other kind of blue pigment used in Romanesque murals, such as azurite, lapis lazuli or aerinite, "which in any case came from far-off lands and were difficult to get hold of for a frontier economy, as the Kingdom Aragon was between the 11th and 15th Centuries".

A possible solution to the mystery

The geologist also says there is no evidence that people in Medieval times had knowledge of how to manufacture this pigment, which is made of copper silicate and calcium: "In fact it has never been found in any mural from the era".

"The most likely hypothesis is that the builders of the church happened upon a 'ball' of Egyptian blue from the Roman period and decided to use it in the paintings on the stone altarpiece", Vendrell explains.

The set of monuments made up by the churches of Sant Pere, Sant Miquel and Santa María de Terrassa are built upon ancient Iberian and Roman settlements, and the much-prized blue pigment could have remained hidden underground for many centuries. "But only a little of it, because this substance couldn't be replaced – once the ball was all used up the blue was gone", concludes Vendrell.

###

References:

Lluveras, A. Torrents, P. Giráldez y M. Vendrell-Saz. "Evidence for the use of egyptian blue in an 11th century mural altarpiece by SEM–EDS, FTIR y SR XRD (Church of Sant Pere, Terrassa, Spain)". Archaeometry 52 (2): 308-319, abril de 2010.


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: egyptianblue; godsgravesglyphs
Altarpiece of the Church of Sant Pere


Caption: The altarpiece of the Church of Sant Pere contains Egyptian blue, archaeologists have found.

Credit: Patrimoni-UB.

Usage Restrictions: None

1 posted on 05/05/2010 11:14:01 AM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Gone blue ping.


2 posted on 05/05/2010 11:14:36 AM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Joe 6-pack

Sort of an art ping.

Have you heard of this pigment? Is there anything equivalent in use now?


3 posted on 05/05/2010 11:20:55 AM PDT by iceskater (I can see November from my house.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: iceskater
Egyptian blue.Photobucket
4 posted on 05/05/2010 11:31:38 AM PDT by ladyvet (WOLVERINES!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ladyvet

It’s a nice shade of blue.


5 posted on 05/05/2010 11:48:54 AM PDT by iceskater (I can see November from my house.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: decimon; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 240B; 24Karet; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Thanks decimon.
This blue pigment was used from the days of ancient Egypt until the end of the Roman Empire, but was not made after this time... The set of monuments made up by the churches of Sant Pere, Sant Miquel and Santa María de Terrassa are built upon ancient Iberian and Roman settlements, and the much-prized blue pigment could have remained hidden underground for many centuries.
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · LiveScience · Archaeology · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


6 posted on 05/05/2010 3:46:00 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: decimon
Neat.

Maya Blue

Elton John Blue

7 posted on 05/05/2010 4:15:56 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

She wore bluuue vel-vet...


8 posted on 05/05/2010 4:27:52 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: decimon
Gotta be, Bobby Vinton Blue, eh?
9 posted on 05/05/2010 4:37:29 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: blam

Blue on blue, heartache on heartache...

He made a career on blue.


10 posted on 05/05/2010 5:06:14 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: decimon

It would take me hours to pick a site to recommend, dealing with ancient pigments; there are so many excellent ones. Google “woad” and “egyptian blue” and have a blast. :)


11 posted on 05/05/2010 5:19:37 PM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (STOP the Tyrananny State.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon; SunkenCiv

Blue Egyptians.

12 posted on 05/05/2010 5:30:52 PM PDT by colorado tanker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 668 - Neighbor of the Beast
Google “woad” and “egyptian blue” and have a blast.

Your idea of having a blast is Googling 'woad.' Uh-huh. And I see you live in New York. Uh-huh. ;-)

13 posted on 05/05/2010 5:36:11 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: decimon

Well, I was going to guess that a family of artists had kept the precious pigment for hundreds of years and passed it down.


14 posted on 05/05/2010 5:59:53 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic
Well, I was going to guess that a family of artists had kept the precious pigment for hundreds of years and passed it down.

Could be. More possibilities than I can imagine.

15 posted on 05/05/2010 6:21:43 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


16 posted on 05/05/2010 6:47:55 PM PDT by NYer ("Where Peter is, there is the Church." - St. Ambrose of Milan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

The significance of this is that it corroborates what every student of iconography knows intuitively: that medieval iconographic tradition, — in this case, Romanesque but also of course Byzantine,— has it roots in patristic times, when memory of how Christ, His Blessed Mother and the apostles looked was alive.


17 posted on 05/05/2010 7:04:22 PM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

O decimon, my fellow keyboardist!

Here are three factoids which I assure you are not powerfully bonded together:

I’ve always been interested in ancient trade and technology. Civ’s ping list is likely to contain others of my kind. I do not live in NYC anymore.

Link just for you:
http://icanhascheezburger.com/

Enjoy! :D


18 posted on 05/05/2010 7:05:19 PM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (STOP the Tyrananny State.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: iceskater

I’ve heard of it. We prob have many shades that are the equivalent but the importance of it is the fact that the Egyptians had found a way to make such a color, that lasted so long, over 1000 years, and retain it’s luminescence.

http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/indiv/overview/egyptblue.html


19 posted on 05/06/2010 9:55:01 AM PDT by Beowulf9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: decimon

I tried to find a picture of the alter, but this one doesn’t seem to want to enlarge.

http://living.oneindia.in/cosmopolitan/cosmo-life/2010/egyptian-blue-pigment-060510.html


20 posted on 05/06/2010 10:02:45 AM PDT by Beowulf9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson