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Patina on outdoor sculpture
MFA# 13.380


Originally described as a thin weathered surface. Natural patinas are usually desirable and are considered an indication of age. They occur on Stone, Wood, Ivory, varnished paintings, and metals due to years of use, handling, cleaning, polishing, oxidation, and/or exposure to the environment. A uniform patina, such as a green copper carbonate layer on Copper or Bronze, can protect the metal from deleterious corrosion. Patinas can also be synthetically induced with chemicals, but this results in a different microchemical structure of the surface layers (see synthetic patina).

Synonyms and Related Terms

aerugo; patine (Fr.); Patina (Deut.); pátina (Esp.); patina (Ned.); pátina (Port.)

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • P.T.Craddock, 'Patina" The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries, Inc. New York, 1996.
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 231
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954