The “Exultet 1” of Bari: multi-methodological approach for the study of a rare medieval parchment roll.

Gioacchino Tempesta, Carlo Porfido, Michele Bellino, Alessandro Monno


A rare medieval parchment roll, called Exultet 1 (first half of XI Century), preserved in the Diocesan Museum of Capitolo Metropolitano of Bari (Italy) has been studied. Certainly, it is one of the highest literary and artistic expressions ever produced in Bari, one of a kind. It is also the very first among medieval European liturgical rolls, in which miniatures are painted upside-down in respect to the text. To analyse inorganic pigments, a mobile laboratory has been set up at the museum. The techniques used, for a non-invasive and non-destructive in situ analysis, were: VIS-NIR spectrophotometry in reflectance mode with optic fibres (FORS), X-Ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) and finally µ-Raman spectroscopy. Such multi-methodological approach allowed to acquire many data without causing any stress to the artwork. The mineral pigments have been identified mainly by FORS and they are: red earth and minium, lapis lazuli and azurite, green earth and copper resinate, orpiment and yellow earth. In some areas, traces of a residual gold leaf have been identified by XRF. The presence of rare and precious pigments as lapis lazuli and gold leaf underlines the sacredness and the importance of the parchment. This is the first scientific investigation performed on the Exultet 1 of Bari.


illuminated manuscript; pigments; in-situ analysis; fors; xrf; µ-raman

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  ISSN PRINT: 0369-8963  -   ISSN ONLINE: 2239-1002