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Timber species and provenances of wooden sculptures. Information from the collections of the National Museum of “Palazzo di Venezia” in Rome

Journal of Cultural Heritage
DOI: 10.1016/j.culher.2014.01.007
  • Wooden Sculpture
  • Wood Identification
  • Stylistic Attribution
  • Xii-Xviii Centuries
  • Poplar Wood
  • Limewood
  • Oak Wood
  • Swiss Stone Pine Wood
  • Cultural Influence


Abstract Paper deals with the scientific identification of timbers utilised for the production of the sculptures preserved within the collection of the National Museum of the “Palazzo di Venezia” in Rome, Italy. After a brief description of the Museum and its sculpture collections, and, more specifically, the wooden sculpture collection which is the largest in Italy, the sampling of the artwork is discussed and described, together with the methodology used for the identification of wood species following the Italian standard UNI 11118:2004. The 12 identified timbers are listed together with their distribution within the cultural provenance of the sculptures. The discussion deals with the timber species utilised by the artists from the four cultural European provenances most represented within the collection: Italy, Alps, central-southern Germany and Lowlands around the Rhine delta. In the different Italian regions, several wood species were utilised and among them mostly poplar and limewood, while the alpine sculptors mostly used Swiss stone pine and the German artists, limewood. Finally in the Rhine delta, most of the sculptures were made out of deciduous oak.

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