The Transfiguration scene depicted in a Byzantine church at Shivta, Israel, is one of two figurative examples of the scene from the early Christian period. The use of Egyptian blue pigment in the wall painting was investigated with various analytical methods. Visible Induced Luminescence (VIL) imaging was used in-situ in order to map the distribution of the Egyptian blue pigment in the painting. The VIL imaging revealed surprising insights into the understanding of the iconography and the technology of this rare painting. Previously undetected elements of the painting include rays of light that were discovered emerging from the body of Christ and illuminating the other figures in the painting. Although this motif is an important part of the Transfiguration narrative and appears in most of its scenes depicted elsewhere, it had not been previously identified in this painting as it was undetectable by any other inspection technique. Another important result is the identification of Egyptian blue as a common blue pigment used at Shivta during the Byzantine period, when it is considered to be very rare.
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© 2017 Linn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)