In-situ multi-analytical study of ongoing corrosion processes on bronze artworks exposed outdoor

Leila Es Sebar, Leonardo Iannucci, Caterina Gori, Alessandro Re, Marco Parvis, Emma Angelini, Sabrina Grassini


This paper presents a long-term in-situ campaign to monitor contemporary bronze statuary exposed outdoors. The case study relates to the characterisation of three sculptures belonging to the Gori Art Collection, located in the Fattoria di Celle: ‘Cavaliere’ and ‘Miracolo – Composizione’ by Marino Marini and ‘Due forme o due ombre n°2’ by Luciano Minguzzi. The overall conservation state of the sculptures was investigated by means of a multi-analytical and non-invasive approach, involving different techniques. Three-dimensional photogrammetry was performed to fully document the artworks. The chemical and microstructural features of the corrosion patinas were then characterised through X-ray fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy. In addition, the stability and the protective effectiveness of the corrosion products were assessed by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Thanks to the combined use of these specific techniques, the information extracted through the different analyses could be correlated with each other and with the exposure conditions. The different corrosion products were identified as being primarily copper sulphates and phosphates, and they were correlated with the different microclimate conditions related to their location on the statues. The information gathered from the presented multi-analytical approach represents the fundamental knowledge required to develop a tailored conservation project to assure the long-lasting preservation of these artworks.

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