Raman study of different crystalline forms of and solid solutions for the noninvasive identification of chrome yellows in paintings : a focus on works by Vincent van Gogh
Chrome yellows, a class of pigments frequently used by painters of the Impressionism and Post-impressionism period, are known for their different chemical stability; the latter depends on the chemical composition (PbCrO4, PbCr1-xSxO4) and crystalline structure (monoclinic or orthorhombic) of the material. The possibility to distinguish among different forms of this pigment is therefore relevant in order to extend knowledge on the corresponding degradation process that is observed on several original paintings. For this purpose, three paintings conserved at the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam) were analyzed using noninvasive Raman spectroscopy, while equivalent investigations employing bench-top instrumentation were performed to obtain information from micro-samples originating from these works of art. In each painting, the chrome yellow was identified either as monoclinic PbCrO4 or in the form of monoclinic PbCr1-xSxO4 (x<0.25) or S-rich orthorhombic PbCr1-xSxO4 (x similar to 0.5). Our ability to make this fairly subtle distinction is based on a Raman study of several oil paint model samples made up of monoclinic and/or orthorhombic crystalline forms of PbCrO4 and PbCr1-xSxO4 (0.1x0.8). These paints were studied using several excitation wavelengths (namely 785.0, 532.0, 514.5, and 488nm). Because of the absence of the resonance Raman effect, which strongly enhances the chromate symmetric stretching band, and the absence of any laser-induced photodecomposition, it is advantageous to acquire data at 785.0nm. The band-shape and the position of the chromate bending modes proved to be more sensitive to the solid solution composition and crystalline structure than the stretching modes and can be used as distinctive spectral markers to discriminate among the different chrome yellow forms that are present. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Source (journal)
Journal of Raman spectroscopy. - Dordrecht
Dordrecht : 2014
45:11-12(2014), p. 1034-1045
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
Research group
Structure analysis of hard and soft condensed matter using synchrotron radiation (ESRF-DUBBLE).
CHARISMA: Cultural heritage Advanced Research Infrastructures: Synergy for a Multidisciplinary Approach to Conservation/Restoration
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 06.02.2015
Last edited 19.08.2017
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