Artistic and historical examination of high-quality glazed terracotta sculptures displayed in various Portuguese museums point to their production in della Robbia workshop of Florence (Italy). A multitechnique analytical approach is applied for the first time to these sculptures, aiming to confirm their origin. Materials were analyzed using Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis, Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis and X-ray Diffraction. The compositional results are similar to other della Robbia sculptures, suggesting a common origin for the raw material that was identified as carbonate rich marine origin marly clay. The applied firing temperatures was proved to be around 900 °C. The differences found within each sculpture are explained by the production technique of assembling separate parts to produce these huge sculptures, and the clay pit heterogeneity.
- della Robbia Portuguese collections
- Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA)
- Prompt gamma activation analysis (PGAA)
- Provenance and technological studies of terracotas
- Renaissance Italian sculptures
- X-ray diffraction (XRD)