Conservation and Technological Research of a Polychrome Sculpture of Christ on a Donkey from the Workshop of Michel and Gregor Erhart
The National Museum in Poznań (MNP) undertook research and restoration of a medieval sculpture Christ on a donkey. Research was underaken following detailed observation of the sculpture’s surface and interior as well as the X-radiographs. The examinations of wood fibres, grounds, pigments, binding materials and metals via microscopic and microchemical methods along with many stratigraphic cross-sections allowed the determination of the original polychromy under multiple underpaintings and to adopt an appropriate conservation program. The violet mineral fluorite was identified in the paint layer of Christ’s robe by microscopy and SEM-EDS analysis. This pigment was used most frequently in Central Europe (Southern Germany, Lower Silesia, Bohemia and Austria) during relatively short period (1470–1520). Based on the discovery of fluorite, we were able to confirm the earlier attribution of the sculpture to the workshop of Michel and Gregor Erhart of Ulm.
KeywordsChrist on a donkey Sculpture Wood Conservation Erhart Fluorite SEM-EDS X-radiography
The authors would like to thank the following people and institutions for their help:
Mr. Robert Ślusarek from the Nowy Sącz District Museum and priest Tadeusz Bukowski from the Tarnów Diocesan Mueum for information regarding the sculptures of Christ on a donkey in their collections, Mr. Roman Stasiuk from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Mr. Wojciech Pawlicki from Euromed, Poznań for X-ray photographs, Ms. Katarzyna Przewoźna and Małgorzata Zimniewska from the Institute of Natural Fibres and Medicinal Plants in Poznań for fibre analysis, Mr. Jacek Michniewicz from the Institute of Geology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań for SEM-EDS examinations, Mr. Dominik Murawski for carpentry consultations.
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