THE “GABINETTO OF GILDED STUCCO” IN THE ROYAL PALACE OF PORTICI, NAPLES (ITALY): SURVEY AND DIAGNOSIS FOR CONSERVATION
Keywords: Architecture, Gilded Stucco, Portici, 18th Century, Diagnosis, Conservation
Abstract. During the 18th century architecture in Naples reached an extremely balanced synthesis between architectural spatiality and decorative apparatuses representing the most successful example of local inventiveness over history. Quite an impressive case dating back to that period is represented by the “Gabinetto of gilded stucco” in the Royal Palace in Portici. Located in the area of the palace known as Caramanico – from the name of the owner of the pre-existing building incorporated in the palace – the stucco was molded between 1752 and 1753 by the two stucco workers Angelo la Sala and Gennaro Bruscino, who also decorated the “Salotto di Porcellana” in Chinese style. Today the room, used as an academic department, is affected by quite a serious stucco decay majorly due to negligence and humidity and consisting in efflorescence, powdering and bursting, worsened by the corrosion of metal fixings. However, the present-day state of conservation of these stuccoworks represents a unique opportunity to carefully observe the original technique used to make such artworks at that time. Therefore by means of advanced surveying instruments and multi-analytical material characterization together with archival documents, the present research – set up in collaboration between University of Naples, Politecnico di Milano and CNR – aims at elaborating a thorough knowledge of an emblematic case of 18th century Neapolitan stucco with a view to its future conservation.