"Mi Fuma il Cervello" ("steaming brain") is the iconic self-portrait of Alighiero Boetti, in which the artist is represented standing up while a copper hose lets water flow on his head. A hidden electric resistance heats the sculpture's head so that the splashing water forms a dense vapour mist as it comes in contact with the hot metal surface. Such system is normally active only during museum exhibitions and determines critical conservation issues due to the inevitable formation of a thick and adherent calcareous deposit. Recently, the Fonderia Artistica Battaglia (Milan, Italy) conducted an extensive conservative intervention aimed at retrieving the original aesthetic features of the bronze surface and its artificial patina finishing. A conservation strategy was proposed based on the use of a superficial coating, to protect the surface and to ease the removal of the calcareous deposits in view of future cleaning operations. Three siliconic commercial paints were selected and preliminarily applied to specimens that simulate the actual alloy. The efficacy, compatibility and durability of the treatments were tested by accelerated ageing test based on combined thermal and wetting cycles, representative of the real working conditions. A multi-analytical diagnostic approach was followed for the evaluation of the coatings characteristics and performances before and after aging: stereomicroscopy, ESEM-EDX, VIS-Light spectrophotometry, micro-FTIR, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The research showed that from the aesthetic point of view all coatings induce only limited and rather comparable initial colour variations. The permanence of the treatments upon ageing, used as durability indicator, was assessed in all cases but the protective layers appeared damaged and no longer continuous over the metal surface. The best performing treatment was identified and further tested with respect to re-treatability. The results provide indications for the general conservation and maintenance protocol.

Mi Fuma il Cervello self-portrait series of Alighiero Boetti : Evaluation of a conservation and maintenance strategy based on sacrificial coatings / D. Gulotta, B. Mariani, E. Guerrini, S. Trasatti, P. Letardi, L. Rosetti, L. Toniolo, S. Goidanich. - In: HERITAGE SCIENCE. - ISSN 2050-7445. - 5:1(2017 May 17).

Mi Fuma il Cervello self-portrait series of Alighiero Boetti : Evaluation of a conservation and maintenance strategy based on sacrificial coatings

Guerrini E.;Trasatti S.;
2017-05-17

Abstract

"Mi Fuma il Cervello" ("steaming brain") is the iconic self-portrait of Alighiero Boetti, in which the artist is represented standing up while a copper hose lets water flow on his head. A hidden electric resistance heats the sculpture's head so that the splashing water forms a dense vapour mist as it comes in contact with the hot metal surface. Such system is normally active only during museum exhibitions and determines critical conservation issues due to the inevitable formation of a thick and adherent calcareous deposit. Recently, the Fonderia Artistica Battaglia (Milan, Italy) conducted an extensive conservative intervention aimed at retrieving the original aesthetic features of the bronze surface and its artificial patina finishing. A conservation strategy was proposed based on the use of a superficial coating, to protect the surface and to ease the removal of the calcareous deposits in view of future cleaning operations. Three siliconic commercial paints were selected and preliminarily applied to specimens that simulate the actual alloy. The efficacy, compatibility and durability of the treatments were tested by accelerated ageing test based on combined thermal and wetting cycles, representative of the real working conditions. A multi-analytical diagnostic approach was followed for the evaluation of the coatings characteristics and performances before and after aging: stereomicroscopy, ESEM-EDX, VIS-Light spectrophotometry, micro-FTIR, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The research showed that from the aesthetic point of view all coatings induce only limited and rather comparable initial colour variations. The permanence of the treatments upon ageing, used as durability indicator, was assessed in all cases but the protective layers appeared damaged and no longer continuous over the metal surface. The best performing treatment was identified and further tested with respect to re-treatability. The results provide indications for the general conservation and maintenance protocol.
bronze; bronze preservation; coating electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; monitoring
Settore ING-IND/22 - Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali
Settore ING-IND/23 - Chimica Fisica Applicata
HERITAGE SCIENCE
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/551236
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