Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Naples Yellow: An Old Pigment Adds A New Shade To Authenticating Art

Date:
July 19, 2001
Source:
American Institute Of Physics
Summary:
Authenticating artwork is a complex task that has historically required experts who have the knowledge of an art connoisseur and the eyes of a detective. In recent decades, however, chemistry and physics have helped transform the previously subjective skill into a more objective pursuit. Analytical techniques for authenticating art are growing ever more critical in light of new European laws which place greater liability for misidentified works on art merchants.

Authenticating artwork is a complex task that has historically required experts who have the knowledge of an art connoisseur and the eyes of a detective. In recent decades, however, chemistry and physics have helped transform the previously subjective skill into a more objective pursuit. Analytical techniques for authenticating art are growing ever more critical in light of new European laws which place greater liability for misidentified works on art merchants.

It was with these issues in mind that Joris Dik and colleagues in the Laboratory for Crystallography at the University of Amsterdam trained a host of analytical instruments on a lead/antimony pigment known as Naples Yellow. Dik explains that throughout the history of visual arts craftsmen have perpetually sought cheaper, more stable, and less toxic pigments. Naples Yellow, in particular, was manufactured by various methods as it was incorporated into numerous paintings produced between the sixteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Dik's collaboration studied Naples Yellow samples from historical paintings of known origins from various collections, such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. In addition, the researchers surveyed portions of historical pigments in the Hafkenscheidt Collection at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem (the Netherlands) and the Turner Pigment Collection in London's Tate Gallery. They examined samples with electron microscopes and identified the chemical compositions with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), a technique that involves bombarding a sample with electrons and monitoring the characteristic x-rays emitted by the various sample components. X-ray and synchrotron diffraction studies revealed differences in physical structures of distinct versions of Naples Yellow.

In combination with literary research into pigment production manuals and technical treatises describing manufacturing methods, Dik explains, "We are able to sketch a chronological and geographical map of the production of Naples Yellow." The map should help narrow down the origins of unidentified artworks, and potentially verify the pedigrees claimed for otherwise established works.

Dik will present the results of the study, which was sponsored in part by the Amsterdam branch of Christie's auction house, at the 2001 American Crystallographic Association meeting in Los Angeles (July 21-26).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute Of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Institute Of Physics. "Naples Yellow: An Old Pigment Adds A New Shade To Authenticating Art." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 July 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010719080238.htm>.
American Institute Of Physics. (2001, July 19). Naples Yellow: An Old Pigment Adds A New Shade To Authenticating Art. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010719080238.htm
American Institute Of Physics. "Naples Yellow: An Old Pigment Adds A New Shade To Authenticating Art." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010719080238.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) Google has announced a Sept. 15 event in India during which they're expected to reveal their Android One phones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins