Polychromy of late gothic civil archicture: a world heritage monument case in Spain

Autores UPV
Revista Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry


The Silk Exchange of Valencia, Spain, is one of the best examples of late Gothic civil architecture in Europe, and was declared a World Heritage Monument by UNESCO in 1996. Prior to cleaning and conservation, technical examination identified the original pigments used to paint the walls, keys, vaults, arches and columns in the main hall, the Contract Hall. Cross sections of remnants of original colour (blue, green, red, gold, etc.) were investigated with optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray analysis, X-ray diffraction techniques and UV light. The study has revealed that the original paint today remains only in very limited areas. Evidence for a later maintenance operation of repainting was also found in the inscription that runs around the Contract Hall. The information has been very useful for deciding on the cleaning and conservation process.