Scientific Analysis, Traceability and Study of Artworks

Molecular information of pigments with Raman spectroscopy

The main objective is the knowledge of the pigments which were used in the artworks. Since every pigment is used in a time frame, the identification of the color palette used by the artist allows the dating of the artwork.

This non-destructive molecular identification is achieved using Raman spectroscopy. All substances , when illuminated with monochromatic radiation (laser) disperse own frequencies which are specifically related to molecules which compose such substances.

In addition, the knowledge of the pigments constituting an artwork allow the future restoration work to be properly carried out in order to use materials chemically compatible with the original, avoiding medium and long term curation problems.

  • Lead white
  • Pb-Sn Type I yellow
  • Vermilion
  • Hematite
  • Azurite
  • Carbon black
Identified pigments  IR image of underlying signature
Author: Unknown (a priori) / Oil on table / Private collection
  • Zinc white (areas 1, 2, 3)
  • Chrome yellow (areas 4, 5)
  • Ultramarine blue (areas 10, 11, 12, 13)
  • Prussian blue (areas 13, 14 15)
  • Carbon black (areas 16, 17, 18)
Typical and usual palette from 1844 to 1926. (1635-1707?)
Identified pigments
Author: Lyubov Sergeyevna Popova (1889 – 1924) / Title: Nature morte au verre et à la bouteille avec No. 86 / Oil on canvas / Private collection
  • Rutile
  • Zinc yellow
  • Toluidine red
  • Ftalocyanine blue
  • Carbon black
Reasonable datation: 1945 - Nowadays
The original artwork was painted by Kees Van Dongen in 1907
Identified pigments
Attribution: Kees Van Dongen (1877 – 1968) / Oil on canvas / Private collection
  • Chalk
  • Orpiment
  • Vermilion
  • Red lead
  • Indigo
  • Azurite
Reasonable datation: Pre-Renaissance
Identified pigments
Author: Unknown / Tempera on flax paper / Private collection