Summary of the project

Project description

This project, proposes an interdisciplinary multi-scale study of the gilding materials and techniques in Portuguese wooden decorative art (“talha dourada”) covering a range of time from c.1500 to c.1800. This study will consider the complexity of materials and techniques used in gilded artefacts inPortugalfrom a different analytical perspective, at various scales of characterization (Macro, Micro, Nano), including innovative tools for dissemination and Outreach activities in conservation and artistic studies field.

Besides the historical and technical research of the existing literature and treatises on gilding, the project will focus on the experimental study, diagnosis and conservation of gilded wooden art-objects, in diverse techniques along the historical époques considered.

Aimed to deepen the scientific knowledge about gilding materials and techniques in Portuguese “talha dourada” artefacts, the project is focused on the design of an overall interdisciplinary multi-scale methodology combining the historical research with analytical methods of study, having as final outcome the implementation of the results in the form of a multimedia tool, GILT-Teller. Beginning with first year of the project, a multimedia tool – GILT-Teller – based on interactive animation softwares and website, will be designed as a virtual trip into the gilding materials and techniques. The implementation of the multimedia tool into training programs and cultural activities will enhance the public awareness on the importance and implications of conservation and scientific research related to “talha dourada” artefacts inPortugal.

The main Objectives are the following:

  • Search the literary sources describing the gold's use and its application as gilding layers in religious works of art inPortugal;
  • Understand  which was the development of manufacturing techniques of gilding up to 19th century;
  • Analyze the chemical composition of each layer constituting the polychromy of “talha dourada” decoration (from the ground to the final finishing varnish or glaze);
  • Study the influence of the wooden support finishing (“tosco”) on the final appearance and behaviour/resistance of gilded surfaces;
  • Study the influence of the sizing and other organic layers/components on the overall stability of the polychrome structures;
  • Differentiate between the original materials and layers in the structure of the polychromy and the ones added with posterior treatments or interventions;
  • Understand which are the relationships between gilding materials and techniques and the degree of erudition of the studied works of art?

Project Info

Coordinated by: FCT-UNL
Project Type: National basic research or R&D projects
Funding Entity: FCT/MCTES
Total Funding Amount: 117 K€
Start Date: 2012-01-01
End Date: 2014-12-31


@Univ. of Evora, Hercules Laboratory

Irina Crina Anca Sandu (Principal Investigator - Post-doc, PhD)

Catarina Miguel, PhD - post- doc

Agnes Le Gac (Assistant Professor, PhD) 

Nuno Leal (Assistant Researcher, PhD)

Carlos Queiroz (Assistant Researcher, PhD)

Solange Muralha (Pos-doc, PhD)

Lia Jorge (bolseira BI lic, BA/MA)

Rita Veiga (bolseira BI mestre, MA)

Francesca Paba (bolseira BI lic, BA)

@ IST/UTL, Lisbon
Manuel Pereira (Assistant Professor, PhD)

António Maurício (Associate Professor, PhD)

@ DGPC/Conservation Laboratory, Lisbon

Elsa Murta (Conservator-restorer, MSc)

@ Diocese de Viseu

Fátima dos Prazeres Eusebio (Art-historian, PhD)

@ FL/UL, Lisbon

Patrícia Monteiro (Art-historian, PhD student)

@ UCP-CITAR, Porto

Carolina Barata (Professor of Paintings and Sculpture Conservation, PhD student)

@ ICT, Praga

Stepanka Kuckova (Assistant Professor, PhD)

Misa Chrova (Biochemist, PhD student)

Consultants from Portugal

Prof. António João Cruz, PhD - Instituto Politécnico de Tomar

Dr. Sílvia Ferreira, PhD - Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Dr. Emanuela Sara Leite Fragoso, MSc - Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Dr. Eva Raquel Neves, BA - Diocese de Santarém - Comissão para os Bens Culturais

Conceição Ribeiro - Conservator-restorer, BA, MNAA

 Consultants from abroad

Dr. Mark Richter, PhD – Doerner Institute (Germany);

Mrs. Mariella Lobefaro, BA – conservator-restorer (Italy);

Dr. Janet Iwasa, PhD - freelancer (USA);

Dr. Tito Busani, PhD - Assistant Researcher (USA)

Carlos Nodal Monar - Conservator-art historian, Msc (Spain).