The Stucco decoration in Middle-Byzantine buildings. Material evidences and written sources.
Presented by Flavia Vanni
The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham
5:15 PM 9th March 2016
The study of the so-called “ephemeral materials” seems to be a field avoided by scholars. However, they can provide us information that cannot be “extracted” from more long-lasting and luxurious material such as marble, stone and mosaics. Stucco was considered by scholars included amongst the “ephemeral materials” category because it is a cheap material easy to mould and equally easy to destroy. In Byzantium, it was used for interior decoration, apparently as an inexpensive substitute for stone. The presence of stucco decoration in Middle-Byzantine buildings was hypothesized by several scholars, but specialized studies were not carried out in order to demonstrate it. I will present some existing key examples of Middle-Byzantine decorations made of stucco in order to highlight its peculiar features and, on the other hand, I demonstrate some preliminary results of my current research on the written source evidence about the use of stucco in the 8th-13th centuries.