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Non-invasive survey of painted works...

Non-invasive survey of painted works of art by X-ray radiographic and X-ray fluorescence methods

Authors: Janka Hradilová and David Hradil

Published by Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 2015

ISBN: 978-80-87108-60-4

Number of pages: 176

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A painted work of art commonly has an intricate inner structure composed of a number of consecutive layers. The way the paint was applied and its material composition characterises the so-called painting technique. The procedure of a painting’s creation evolves in time. The paintings bear signs of different painting approaches, changes in painting’s composition as well as secondary interventions. In the study of painted artworks, the description of a painting technique is crucial as it is closely related to the period, place of creation of the painting as well as to the painter. The most precise description of the painting technique can be achieved through micro-sampling and the study of micro-stratigraphy; however, the sampling is a destructive procedure. That is why one could observe a recent boom in the development of non-invasive methods, which do not compromise the integrity of the artwork. Some of the non-invasive methods are regularly being used during restoration/conservation survey – e.g., photographs in visible, UV or infrared light, infrared reflectography, eventually X-ray radiography. This monograph presents the most recent findings in the field of methods based on X-ray radiation, their benefits as well as drawbacks which may arise especially during data interpretation. The main focus is placed on X-ray radiography (including the employment of the newest generation of material sensitive detectors) and X-ray fluorescence analysis (including large-area elemental mapping).