Although they look similar by eye, cadmium yellow pigments, first produced in the mid-19th century, can have different crystalline structures. These different structures, along with a range of impurities that can be present in the pigment, can have a significant impact on long-term stability. Recent work explores how spectroscopy can unravel the compositional profile of historical cadmium yellow pigments, paving the way to help better understanding the degradation of modern pigments. Continue reading Shining new light on historical cadmium yellow pigments with time-resolved photoluminescence microscopy
Laser light can be used to blast grime off stone surfaces without affecting the stone substrate underneath. Although laser cleaning can be used in conjunction with other methods to remove different types of contaminants, here we highlight an article that uses only laser cleaning to remove biofilm from a marble statue. Continue reading Green slime invasion deterred by laser guns! How finely-tuned light can be used to clean marble
Imaging, used in art analysis for a decade now, has helped to reveal long-lost paintings, lost colors or evidence of artists changing their minds. But now, it has brought the symbols of darkness to light… Continue reading Hidden Skeleton: Using scientific imaging tools to reveal the previous lives of art objects
Over time, stone heritage can become fragile and weak. So how can we consolidate the stone to strengthen it? Bacteria might can help! Continue reading How bacteria can be used to conserve and protect our stone heritage
Pressure-sensitive tape can be a friend when adhering pieces of a ripped document together. However, it can also be a foe when it must be removed from paper artworks. This article describes a novel material for efficient removal of adhesive tapes in the context of a paper restoration. Continue reading Would you dare to remove tape from a Michelangelo drawing?
With all those artists’ materials out there, why not talk about the chemistry of them? Colorful pigments, such as these Co(II)-based ones, are great educational tools for theory, synthesis, or analysis. Continue reading Cobalt pigments as teaching tools
Immunoassay biosensors make identifying animal proteins from egg or glue in cultural heritage objects an simple task. This effort to miniaturize and simplify analysis could bring material characterization to any conservation studio. Continue reading Protein analysis in heritage materials: from medical to conservation diagnosis with mini-biosensors
X-rays help researchers understand the elemental profile of an artwork. A new X-ray fluorescence imaging system, inspired by a similar system being developed for planetary exploration missions, brings high-resolution elemental mapping directly into the galleries in an accessible way. Continue reading From Mars to the museum: The application of full-field X-ray fluorescence (XRF) to the study of a Caillebotte painting
Mølen, the Norwegian site of hundreds of ancient grave cairns, is constantly at risk, largely due to the influence of visitors to the site. Sites such as these must be monitored to see if changes have occurred, but since data from modern technologies do not date back very far, it is often necessary to use other types of archival data to fill in the gaps. Continue reading Stop moving the rocks around: Monitoring of Mølen using digital elevation models
On the surface of every folio of every manuscript lies a hidden library of genomic information to be sequenced, translated, and interpreted. Eraser shavings collected during the dry cleaning of these valuable documents can be used to access this metalibrary without destructive sampling.
Image credit: AAAS Science Continue reading Flayed, dehaired, stretched… and sequenced. Reading the proteomic and genetic scripture of the York Gospels.