Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-q9r9l Total loading time: 0.181 Render date: 2022-07-05T01:28:04.819Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Technical Studies on Renaissance Bronzes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2011

Billie Milam Weisman
Affiliation:
Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, 275 Carolwood Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90077, U.S.A.
Chandra L. Reedy
Affiliation:
University of Delaware, Museum Studies Program, 301 Old College, Newark, DE 19716, U.S.A.
Get access

Abstract

The merging of art production and technological innovation during the Renaissance in Europe led to some of the world's most renowned master works in bronze. Published technical studies of such bronzes are still relatively few in number. The objective of the present study was to conduct a comprehensive investigation of comparative examination and analysis on fifty-two bronze sculptures which were attributed to a wide variety of workshops and individual artists. The sculptures are housed in the permanent collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria, and were shown in the museum's 1987 exhibition, Renaissance Master Bronzes. Technical analysis included identifying and characterizing casting and fabricating techniques through visual surface examination; studying x-radiographs; and identifying clay core materials through thin-section petrography. The results of these studies were subsequently compared to technical treatises/accounts of bronze techniques by three Renaissance artist-scholars: Biringuccio (ca. 1540), Vasari (ca. 1550), and Cellini (ca. 1568). The present investigation shows a strong correlation between its technical results and those set forth by the above scholars from the Renaissance period. The findings of this research and comparison indicate that many methods and procedures in Renaissance bronze production were not standardized. Rather, there is shown to have been a wide range of technical variation. The broad variance is demonstrated through numerous processes, including: modes of separate cast-piece attachment, armature construction, chaplet insertion, selection of clay core and additive materials, and removal of clay core portions after casting. The variance is also evident in the quality and extent of surface tooling and/or chasing, and in the visual appearance of patinas. One result of this study is a better understanding of the nature of bronze sculpture technology during the Renaissance period.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2002

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1. Stone, R., Metropolitan Museum Journal 16, 87116 (1982).Google Scholar
2. Pichler, B. and Vendl, A., “Authentication of a Renaissance Bronze Statue,” in Recent Advances in the Conservation and Analysis of Artefacts, compiled by Black, J. (Summer Schools Press, 1987), pp. 169171.Google Scholar
3. Vendl, A., Pichler, B., Weber, J. and Banik, G. (editors), Wiener Berichte über Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst (VWGö, 1988).Google Scholar
4. Bewer, F. in Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology IV, edited by Vandiver, P. B.et al., (Mater. Res. Soc. Proc. 352, Pittsburgh, PA, 1994), pp. 701709.Google Scholar
5. Leithe-Jasper, M., Renaissance Master Bronzes from the Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Scala Books, 1986).Google Scholar
6. Milam, B., Reedy, C. and Sussman, C., Technical Analysis of Renaissance Bronzes for Provenance Studies: A Pilot Project, unpublished report submitted to the Getty Conservation Institute, Marina del Rey, Cal., 1988.Google Scholar
7. Koeberl, C., “Spurenelementanalytik von silikatischen Probendes Gukerns,” in Wiener Berichte über Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst, edited by Vendl, A. et al. (VWGö, 1988), pp. 332340.Google Scholar
8. Riederer, J., Berliner Beitrage zur Archaometrie 10, 8595 (1988).Google Scholar
9. Sturman, S. and Berrie, B., Studies in the History of Art, 22, 175190 (1989).Google Scholar
10. Stone, R., White, R. and Indictor, N., in ICCOM Committee for Conservation, Proceedings from the 9th Triennial Meeting, Dresden, German Democratic Republic (ICOMCC, Los Angeles, 1990), pp. 568575.Google Scholar
11. Glinsman, L. A. and Hayek, L. C., Archaeometry, 35, 4967 (1993).Google Scholar
12. Ashbee, C. R. (translator), The Treatises of Benvenuto Cellini on Goldsmithing and Sculpture (Dover, 1967).Google Scholar
13. Brown, G. B. (editor), Vasari on Technique (J. M. Dent, 1907).Google Scholar
14. Smith, C. S. and Gnudi, M. T. (translators), The Pirotechnia of Vannoccio Biringuccio (MIT, 1959).Google Scholar
15. Tuttle, P., Studies in the History of Art, 21, 205214 (1987).Google Scholar
16. Avery, C., Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes in the Frick Art Museum (The Frick Art and Historical Center, 1993).Google Scholar
17. Reedy, C. L., Archeomaterials, 5, 121165 (1991).Google Scholar
18. Green, G. W., “Gypsum Analysis with the Polarizing Microscope,” in The Chemistry and Technology of Gypsum, edited by Kuntze, R. A. (American Society for Testing and Materials, 1984), pp. 2247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
19. Sauer, R., Pichler, B. and Weber, J., “Untersuchungen am Kernmaterial,” in Wiener Berichte über Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst, edited by Vendl, A.et al. (VWGö, 1988), pp. 318331.Google Scholar
20. Schneider, G., “Investigation of Crucibles and Moulds from Bronze Foundries in Olympia and Athens and Determination of Provenance of Bronze Statues,” in Archaeometry, edited by Manniatis, Y. (Elsevier, 1989), pp. ”305310.Google Scholar
21. Williams, H., Turner, F. J. and Gilbert, C. M., Petrography: An Introduction to the Study of Rocks in Thin Section (W. H. Freeman, 1982, pp. 593597.Google Scholar

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Technical Studies on Renaissance Bronzes
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Technical Studies on Renaissance Bronzes
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Technical Studies on Renaissance Bronzes
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *