Unveiling the underprintings of a late-fifteenth-early-sixteenth century illuminated French incunabulum by infrared reflectography

Catarina Miguel*, Silvia Bottura, Teresa Ferreira, Antónia Fialho Conde, Cristina Barrocas-Dias, António Candeias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For the first time, IR reflectography was used for analysing the production technique of incunabula, unveiling impressive results concerning the identification of underprintings and the relation with its coloured illuminated representations. In this work, the procedures followed for producing a late-fifteenth-early-sixteenth century incunabulum produced in the Parisian workshop of Germain Hardouyn held by the Biblioteca Pública de Évora (Inc.438) were characterized by IR reflectography. Unexpected features concerning the creative process of the hand-coloured procedures were achieved, reflecting an illuminator strongly influenced by the devotions that were in fashion at the time, unlike the engraving plates used on the incunabulum, whose representations faithfully followed the references of the Holy Scriptures. For the evaluation of the originality of the painted surfaces, a representative painted illustration — the Adoration of the Magi, f.11 — was full characterized using a microscopic and spectroscopic approach (OM, SEM-EDS, Raman microscopy, μ-FTIR). Three representative coloured-paints (white, blue and gilding) of the painted illustrations from the Adoration of the Magi (f.11), the Pietà (f.47v) and the Pentecost (f.65v) were characterized and compared to infer on the contemporaneity of these painted illustrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage
Volume40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Book of hours
  • Chemical analysis
  • Incunabulum
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Underprintings

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