Title
Casting light on the darkening of colors in historical paintings Casting light on the darkening of colors in historical paintings
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Publication type
article
Publication
New York, N.Y. ,
Subject
Physics
Chemistry
Source (journal)
Physical review letters. - New York, N.Y.
Volume/pages
111(2013) :20 , p. 1-5
ISSN
0031-9007
Article Reference
208302
Carrier
E-only publicatie
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The degradation of colors in historical paintings affects our cultural heritage in both museums and archeological sites. Despite intensive experimental studies, the origin of darkening of one of the most ancient pigments known to humankind, vermilion (α-HgS), remains unexplained. Here, by combining many-body theoretical spectroscopy and high-resolution microscopic x-ray diffraction, we clarify the composition of the damaged paint work and demonstrate possible physicochemical processes, induced by illumination and exposure to humidity and air, that cause photoactivation of the original pigment and the degradation of the secondary minerals. The results suggest a new path for the darkening process which was never considered by previous studies and prompt a critical examination of their findings.
Full text (open access)
https://repository.uantwerpen.be/docman/irua/554f88/08da2062.pdf
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