This paper presents the results of a comprehensive diagnostic investigation carried out on five paintings (three wood panels and two paintings on canvas) by Lorenzo Lotto, one of the most significant artists of the Italian Renaissance in the first half of 16th century. The paintings considered belong to 1508-1522 period, corresponding to the most significant years of Lotto's evolution. A wide array of non-invasive (reflectance spectrometry and energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy) and micro-invasive analytical techniques (optical microscopy, environmental scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy with micro-attenuated total reflection, micro-Raman spectroscopy, gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and high performance liquid chromatography coupled with photodiode array detection and mass spectrometry) were applied in order to provide a large set of significant data, limiting as much as possible the sampling. This study has proved that Lotto's painting palette was typical of Venetian practice of that period, but some significant peculiarities emerged: the use of two kinds of red lakes, the addition of calcium carbonate and colourless powdered glass, the latter frequently found in pictorial and ground layers. Moreover, the integrated investigation showed that Lotto's technique was sometimes characterized by the use of coloured priming and multi-layer sequences with complex mixtures. Chromatographic analyses allowed to identify in all specimens: azelaic, palmitic and stearic acids, generally referring to the presence of drying oils. The extension of additional non-invasive examination to about 50 paintings by the same author, spanning from 1505 to around 1556, to verify the evolution in the use of some pigments, such as the ones, where Pb-Sb yellow was used alongside Pb-Sn yellow.
Lorenzo Lotto and his painting technique: an integrated diagnostic approach / Amadori, Maria Letizia; Poldi, Gianluca; Casoli, Antonella; Baraldi, Pietro; Barcelli, Sara; Berzioli, Michela; Marras, Susanna; Pojana, Giulio; Villa, Giovanni C. F.. - In: SPECTROCHIMICA ACTA. PART A, MOLECULAR AND BIOMOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY. - ISSN 1386-1425. - 164:(2016), pp. 110-122. [10.1016/j.saa.2016.02.043]