Abstract

The paper aims at showing the usefulness of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the polychromatic “Centuripe” ware.Since early 20th century, such class has been appreciated for its fancy paintings and the richness of the applied relief decorations(painted and gilded) that embellish the vases, making them unsuitable for an utilitarian use, but impressive as funerary gifts and,nowadays, as show pieces for antiquarians and collectors. Due to the spreading, till recent times, of illicit excavations, arbitraryrestorations and forgeries, the Centuripe vases need a scientific investigation in order to confirm the authenticity both of thewhole objects and paintings, and of single details (often added or reshaped by the “restorer”).Two fine Centuripe vases, exhibited in the Archaeological Museum “A. Salinas” of Palermo, were analyzed using complementaryportable XRF and Total Reflectance FTIR spectroscopies. The analyses confirmed the tempera technique, and showed thepresence of both ancient and modern pigments. These latter testify some unrecorded “restorations” which altered the originalstyle and partly the outlines of the figures (above all in the pyxis), while the general iconography was preserved.One of the most interesting results was the identification of two phases of the calcium sulfate in the stratum underlying thepaintings: the presence of bassanite reveals the ancient technique of execution, implying that this layer underwent a low temperaturefiring, after which the true tempera painting was laid. On the contrary, the presence of gypsum in other points revealsa later intervention; it coincides with the retouches or the traces of modern pigments.The palette of the two vases is not identical, just like the style and the secondary decorations, contradicting the hypothesis madeby P.W. Deussen, according to which these and two further vases found by the same dealer (now in the Metropolitan Museumof New York) belonged to the same tomb. The lebes gamikos stands out for the use of rarer pigments, like cinnabar and probablyazurite, and for the quality of the drawing.The chromatic effects themselves are not merely questions of taste, but cooperate with the iconography and the overall design increating a prestigious gift and of great symbolic value, suggesting a hope of immortality for the dead.
Lingua originaleItalian
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteScienza e archeologia. Un efficace connubio per la divulgazione della cultura scientifica
Pagine75-99
Numero di pagine25
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017

Cita questo

Chirco, G., Caponetti, E., Chillura Martino, D. F., Saladino, M. L., & Portale, E. C. (2017). I ‘vasi di Centuripe’: per un approccio integrato. In Scienza e archeologia. Un efficace connubio per la divulgazione della cultura scientifica (pagg. 75-99)