Italian language and cultural school for foreigners
“Firenze nell'Arte”

Gilding course

Gilding is a set of decoration techniques that can be applied on different materials and objects, in order to embellish them. It is the operation of placing a very thin layer of gold, known as "gold leaf". Sometimes, but rarely, gold is replaced with alloys that simulate the colour of gold, silver or copper.

Gilding techniques are used primarily for frames, precious book volumes, highly valuable furniture and art objects in general.

Gilding was a very important technique in Medieval art and architecture, particularly in the Byzantine and Renaissance periods. The gold leaf was used in paintings on cornice, for the halo of saints, or to represent the brightness of the sun. Gold does not corrode and thanks to this feature many works of golden art have remained intact to this day.


Gold leaf gilding

  • Gilding techniques: gouache and mission.
  • Use of rabbit-skin and fish glues
  • Bologna gilding chalk
  • Bole: technical features
  • Mecca (special alcohol-based varnish)
  • Engraving
  • Chiselling
  • Pastiglia

Restoration of gilded works

  • Introduction of materials
  • Velinatura (application of a protective film)
  • Antiparasitic treatment
  • Old priming consolidation
  • Old lacquer consolidation
  • Cleaning
  • Plaster work
  • Imitation supplemental treatments
  • Ageing