Application of Non-Destructive Techniques. The Madonna Del Latte Case Study


  • Maria Celeste Leuzzi University of Genoa
  • Mila Crippa University of Genoa
  • Giorgio Andrea Costa University of Genoa CNR-SPIN of Genoa



In the frame of a research project involving a private collection of artworks a panel painting representing the Nursing Madonna (Madonna del latte) was studied by means of scientific examination.

The Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry (DCCI) of the University of Genoa carried out non-invasive exams, combining imaging techniques with analytical analyses.

Infrared reflectography (IRR), infrared false colour (IRFC), UV fluorescence (UVF), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and reflectance spectroscopy in the visible range (vis-RS) were used to analyse the painting palette thus obtaining more information on a possible creation date of the painting.

Some of the most interesting results are the identification of a freehand underdrawing and the usage of lead white, cinnabar, Fe-based pigments for yellows and browns and Cu-based pigments for blue and green colours.

The scientific results, as well as historical researches allow the hypothesis that the Madonna del latte was authored in the early 16th century by a Florentine artist, probably a scholar of Baccio della Porta.






Research Papers