Illustrated Architecture Dictionary ..... Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

pa TEEN a / PAT in a

A film or fine coating of oxide formed on the surface of a metal, esp the green oxidation of pure copper objects as well as alloys which contain copper, such as bronze or brass.

The luster or sheen on any surface, produced by age and use.


The chemical process by which a patina forms is called patination, and a work of art coated by a patina is said to be patinated.

Patina usually refers to the greenish coating that forms on copper alloys over time. In most non-polluted environments it is basic copper carbonate but in industrial and urban areas it is mainly basic copper sulphate.

Copper turns green, while lead goes from silver to grey.  

Patina occurs naturally or can be produced artificially with chemical treatment for decorative effect.

"...the French sculptor Auguste Rodin used to instruct assistants at his studio to urinate over bronzes stored in the outside yard." - Wikipedia (September 2011)


 A patina on wood furniture produced by age, wear, and polishing shows depth and grain and helps indicate its age.

Distressing: Artists and metalworkers often deliberately add patinas as a part of the original design and decoration of art and furniture, or to simulate antiquity in newly-made objects.

"Patina is everything that happens to an object over the course of time. The nick in the leg of a table, a scratch on a table top, the loss of moisture in the paint, the crackling of a finish or a glaze in ceramics, the gentle wear patterns on the edge of a plate. All these things add up to create a softer look, subtle color changes, a character. Patina is built from all the effects, natural and man-made, that create a true antique." - Israel Sack on
Wikipedia (September 2011)

Examples from Buffalo:

Other examples:

Photos and their arrangement 2009 Chuck LaChiusa
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