The surface coating present on a marble Piety dating to the Renaissance period and stored at the Castello Sforzesco-Museum of Ancient Art (Milan, Italy) was studied and chemically characterised. For this purpose, both portable non-invasive (XRF and colorimetric measurements) and micro-invasive techniques (FTIR-ATR and SEM-EDS), have been applied. The statue has been recently submitted to a restoration, since its surface appeared dark and yellowed, before an exhibition at the Louvre Museum and the original appearance of the marble surface recovered thanks to the surface coating removal. Through the analytical characterisation carried out before and after the marble cleaning, the presence of a degradation layer composed by gypsum was evidenced on the stone. The origin of this layer is ascribable to the exposure of the statue to outdoor environment and interaction with atmospheric pollution. The chemical nature of the coating applied at the end of nineteenth century also responsible for the surface alteration was hypothesized.
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