An antique process eused to decorate solid surfaces (wood, metal, glass, plaster, paper, etc.) by applying an extra-fine leaf of precious metal.
Being gold resistant to deterioration, it has allowed panels as old as Middle Ages onward to reach modern times with unaltered splendour.
The result of the gilding process depends on the artisan’s skills, as well as on the nature of the environmental working conditions, and by respecting certain executive times. A very good preparation of the support is essential for a successful process.
Phase products are recommended for gilding applied by means of various techniques, which are valid for using genuine gold and silver leaf, as well as imitation gold, silver and copper leaf. The most common techniques are:
- gouache (“a guazzo” – water technique) requires the preparation of the surface with Bologna gypsum and rubbit-skin glue (“ammannitura” – primer). Gold leaves can be applied directly on the primer or on a bolus lying (a special colored clay);
- “a missione”: on a perfectly smoothed or primer-layered surface, a thin layer of a special glue, called “missione”, is applied. The glue can be water-based, hydroalcoholic or oil based.