Patination of bronzes

Patination of Bronzes

Natural patina refers to changes that occur in the surface of bronze over time due to its exposure to air, while artificial patina is a coating formed on the surface of bronze statues from the Renaissance onward. Patina gives a coloured, transparent and bright surface to bronzes. A variety of finishes were used to patinate, or surfaces were simply treated with pigments, resin mixed with lampblack, varnish or linseed oil. Sometimes chemical changes occurred, tarnishing the bronze surface. For example wine vinegar was used to make green patina or a bronze was fire gilded, a process requiring mercury to be volatilized.


(Attributed to Andrea Briosco called Riccio: Rape of Europa, inv. no.: 5363)