The Sacred Aura of Gold

Symbolism and use of gold in paintings and sculptures of Castelvecchio

Madonna of the Rose Garden (1420) by Stefano di Giovanni (France or Lombardy, 1375 ca. - Verona? after 1438)Museo di Castelvecchio

Gold, the precious metal par excellence, due to its nature of incorruptibility to most chemical compounds is associated with eternity, but also with spirituality and the otherworldly light, rendered in the golden background of panel paintings.

Its colour, extremely bright, was much appreciated in sacred subjects for the mystical effect it instilled, making them intangible.

The relevance of gold to the divine sphere is due to the fact that it is the only colour that man is not able to reproduce.

In this painting attributed to Stefano di Giovanni, the garden is projected against a golden sky into which figures of angels are etched.

Madonna of the Quail (1420) by Antonio di Puccio Pisano, known as Pisanello (Pisa? before 1395 - Rome? 1455 ca.)Museo di Castelvecchio

Gold in painting was obtained from the metal itself, thinned in gold leaves by artisans (battiloro) by beating coins, which were then fixed to the canvas with natural substances such as egg white, honey, rubber and vegetable juices.

Alternatively, gold was also used in powder form.

Polyptyc of Saint Luke by context of Bartolomeo Giolfino (1470 ca. - 1480)Museo di Castelvecchio

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