Are commercial pigments reliable references for the analysis of paintings?

Rampazzi, Laura and Corti, Cristina (2019) Are commercial pigments reliable references for the analysis of paintings? International Journal of Conservation Science, 10 . pp. 207-220. ISSN 2067-8223 [Article]


Download (965kB) | Preview
Official URL:

Abstract (in English)

When paintings are examined by spectroscopic techniques, building a robust database is of major importance, in order to compare the analyses with reliable references and to correctly understand the results. The database, which is usually homemade, should include carefully chosen commercial pigments, which should be as pure as possible and should correspond to the expected formula or composition of the historical pigments. Unfortunately, sometimes no correspondence between the names of the pigments used by companies and the actual composition of some of the colors is ascertained. In some cases, the composition is in fact made up of different chemical compounds; in others the presence of extenders is revealed, for example gypsum and calcite. In this paper some cases studies are discussed, regarding commercial pigments analysed by infrared spectroscopy, thermal analysis, X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence. The results highlighted the importance of checking the purity of commercial pigments and excluding any extraneous compounds while interpreting the results of analytical survey of paintings

Item Type: Article
Rampazzi, Laura
Corti, Cristina
Languages: English
Keywords: Painting analysis; Pigments; Infrared spectroscopy; Thermogravimetry; X-ray diffraction; X-ray fluorescence
Volume: 10
ISSN: 2067-8223
Depositing User: dr Laura Rampazzi
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2019 13:07
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2019 13:07
References: [1] N. Eastaugh, V. Walsh, T. Chaplin, R. Siddall, Pigment Compendium: A Dictionary and Optical Microscopy of Historical Pigments, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 2008.

[2] R.J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials: A Short Encyclopaedia, Courier Corporation, New York, 1966.

[3] M. Pastoureau, La couleur et l’historien, Pigment. Color. l’antiquité Du Moyen Age (Editor: B. Guineau), Paris, 1990, pp. 21–40.

[4] K. Castro, M. Pérez, M.D. Rodríguez-Laso, J.M. Madariaga, FTIR Spectra Database of Inorganic Art Materials, Analytical Chemistry, 75(9), (2003) pp. 214A-221A. doi:10.1021/ac031320e.

[5] A. Vila, N. Ferrer, J.F. García, Colored inks analysis and differentiation: a first step in artistic contemporary prints discrimination, Analytica Chimica Acta, 588(1), 2007, pp. 96–107. doi:10.1016/j.aca.2007.01.071.

[6] C. Miliani, A. Daveri, B.G. Brunetti, A. Sgamellotti, CO2 entrapment in natural ultramarine blue, Chemical Physics Letters, 466(4–6), 2008, pp. 148–151. doi:10.1016/j.cplett.2008.10.038.

[7] E.L. Kendix, S. Prati, R. Mazzeo, E. Joseph, G. Sciutto, C. Fagnano, Far Infrared Spectroscopy in the Field of Cultural Heritage, Infrared and Raman Users’ Group (IRUG), 7, 2010, pp. 8–13.

[8] E.P. Tomasini, E.B. Halac, M. Reinoso, E.J. Di Liscia, M.S. Maier, Micro‐Raman spectroscopy of carbon‐based black pigments, Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 43(11), 2012 pp. 1671–1675. doi:10.1002/jrs.4159.

[9] J.H. Townsend, L. Carlyle, N. Khandekar, S. Woodcock, Later nineteenth century pigments: Evidence for additions and substitutions, The Conservator, 19(1), 1995 pp. 65–78. doi:10.1080/01410096.1995.9995096.

[10] M. Clarke, A nineteenth-century colourman’s terminology, Studies in Conservation, 54(3), 2009, pp. 160–169.

[11] L. Carlyle, Authenticity and adulteration: what materials were 19th century artists really using?, The Conservator, 17, 1993, pp. 56–60. doi:10.1080/01410096.1993.9995075.

[12] C. Corti, L. Rampazzi, P. Visoná, Hellenistic mortar and plaster from Contrada Mella near Oppido Mamertina (Calabria, Italy), International Journal of Conservation Science, 7(1), 2016 pp. 57–70.

[13] A. Sansonetti, J. Striova, D. Biondelli, I. Aliatis, L. Rampazzi, Hidden colours in stuccowork damaged by fire: A multi-analytical investigation for revealing the original decorative pattern, Journal of Cultural Heritage, 22, 2016, pp. 1055–1060. doi:10.1016/j.culher.2015.11.002.

[14] R. Bugini, C. Corti, L. Folli, L. Rampazzi, Unveiling the Use of Creta in Roman Plasters: Analysis of Clay Wall Paintings From Brixia (Italy), Archaeometry, 59(1), 2017, pp. 84–95. doi:10.1111/arcm.12254.

[15] L. Rampazzi, V. Brunello, C. Corti, E. Lissoni, Non-invasive techniques for revealing the palette of the Romantic painter Francesco Hayez, Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 176, 2017 pp. 142–154. doi:10.1016/j.saa.2017.01.011.

[16] K. Helwig, Mars colours: preparation methods and chemical composition, Studies in Conservation, 43, sup2, 1998 pp. 23–23. doi:10.1179/ sic.1998.Supplement-2.023.

[17] S.N. Ghosh, Infrared spectra of the Prussian blue analogs, Journal of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, 36, 11, (1974) pp. 2465–2466. doi:10.1016/0022-1902(74)80454-9.

[18] J.A. Goldsmith, S.D. Ross, The infra-red spectra of azurite and malachite, Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular Spectroscopy, 24(12), 1968 pp. 2131–2137. doi:10.1016/0584-8539(68)80273-9.

[19] G.C. Jones, B. Jackson, Infrared Transmission Spectra of Carbonate Minerals, Springer Netherlands, 1993.

[20] M.J. Wilson, Clay Mineralogy: Spectroscopic and Chemical Determinative Methods, Chapman & Hall, London, 1994.

[21] T. Gatta, L. Campanella, C. Coluzza, V. Mambro, P. Postorino, M. Tomassetti, G. Visco, Characterization of black pigment used in 30 BC fresco wall paint using instrumental methods and chemometry., Chemistry Central Journal, 6, Suppl 2:S2, 2012, pp. 1–10. doi:10.1186/1752-153X-6-S2-S2.

[22] M. Hass, G.B.B.M. Sutherland, The Infra-Red Spectrum and Crystal Structure of Gypsum, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 236(1207), 1956, pp. 427–445. doi:10.1098/rspa.1956.0146.

[23] M.R. Derrick, D. Stulik, J.M. Landry, Infrared Spectroscopy in Conservation Science, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1999.

[24] R.L. Feller, ed., Artists’ Pigments. A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics - Vol. 1, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1986.

[25] B. Prameena, G. Anbalagan, V. Sangeetha, S. Gunasekaran, G.R. Ramkumaar, Behaviour of Indian natural baryte mineral, International Journal of ChemTech Research, 5(1), 2013, pp. 220–231.

[26] C.-C. Lin, P. Shen, Sol-gel synthesis of zinc orthosilicate, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 171(3), 1994, pp. 281–289. doi:10.1016/0022-3093(94)90197-X.

[27] B.H. Berrie, ed., Artists’ Pigments. A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, Vol. 4, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2007.

[28] S. Pisareva, A note on cobalt spectral, Studies in Conservation, 50(3), 2005, pp. 190–192. doi:10.2307/25487744.

[29] D. de Waal, Micro-Raman and portable Raman spectroscopic investigation of blue pigments in selected Delft plates (17-20th Century), Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 40(12), 2009, pp. 2162–2170. doi:10.1002/jrs.2389.

[30] E. Ozel, H. Yurdakul, S. Turan, M. Ardit, G. Cruciani, M. Dondi, Co-doped willemite ceramic pigments: Technological behaviour, crystal structure and optical properties, Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 30(16), 2010, pp. 3319–3329. doi:10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2010.08.013.

[31] A. Roy, ed., Artists’ Pigments. A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics - Vol. 2, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1993.

[32] J. Bessière-Morandat, V. Lorenzelli, J. Lecomte, II. — Détermination expérimentale et essai d’attribution des vibrations actives en infrarouge de quelques carbonates basiques métalliques à l’état cristallin, Journal de Physique, 31(4), 1970, pp. 309–312. doi:10.1051/jphys:01970003104030900.

[33] J. Van der Weerd, A. van Loon, J.J. Boon, FTIR studies of the effects of pigments on the aging of oil, Studies in Conservation, 50(1), 2005, pp. 3–22. doi:10.2307/25487713.

[34] M.H. Brooker, S. Sunder, P. Taylor, V.J. Lopata, Infrared and Raman spectra and X-ray diffraction studies of solid lead(II) carbonates, Canadian Journal of Chemistry, 61(3), 1983, pp. 494–502. doi:10.1139/v83-087.

[35] M.-C. Corbeil, P.J. Sirois, A Note on a Modern Lead White, also Known as’ Synthetic Plumbonacrite’, Studies in Conservation, 52(4), 2007 pp. 281–288.

[36] F. Vanmeert, G. Van der Snickt, K. Janssens, Plumbonacrite Identified by X-ray Powder Diffraction Tomography as a Missing Link during Degradation of Red Lead in a Van Gogh Painting, Angewandte Chemie, 127(12), 2015, pp. 3678–3681. doi:10.1002/ange.201411691.

[37] M.-S. Sun, The nature of chrysocolla from Inspiration mine, Arizona, The American Mineralogist, 48, 1963, pp. 649–658.

[38] R.L. Frost, Y. Xi, Is chrysocolla (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4·nH2O related to spertiniite Cu(OH)2?—A vibrational spectroscopic study, Vibrational Spectroscopy, 64, 2013, pp. 33–38. doi:10.1016/j.vibspec.2012.10.001.

[39] S. Goñi-Elizalde, M.E. García-Clavel, Thermal behaviour in air of iron oxyhydroxides obtained from the method of homogeneous precipitation. Part II. Akaganeite sample, Thermochimica Acta, 129(2), 1988, pp. 325–334. doi:10.1016/0040-6031(88)87348-9.

[40] J. Adams, W. Kneller, D. Dollimore, Thermal analysis (TA) of lime- and gypsum-based medieval mortars, Thermochimica Acta, 211, C, 1992, pp. 93–106. doi:10.1016/0040-6031(92)87010-8.

[41] U. Casellato, P.. A. Vigato, U. Russo, M. Matteini, A Mössbauer approach to the physico-chemical characterization of iron-containing pigments for historical wall paintings, Journal of Cultural Heritage, 1(3), 2000, pp. 217–232. doi:10.1016/S1296-2074(00)01088-8.

[42] C. Montagner, D. Sanches, J. Pedroso, M.J. Melo, M. Vilarigues, Ochres and earths: Matrix and chromophores characterization of 19th and 20th century artist materials, Spectrochimica Acta - Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 103, 2013, pp. 409–416. doi:10.1016/j.saa.2012.10.064.

[43] M.C. Caggiani, A. Cosentino, A. Mangone, Pigments Checker version 3.0, a handy set for conservation scientists: A free online Raman spectra database, Microchemical Journal, 129, 2016, pp. 123–132. doi:10.1016/j.microc.2016.06.020.

[44] K.C. Bailey, ed., The Elder Pliny’s Chapters on Chemical Subjects, Part 1, E. Arnold & Company, London, 1929.

[45] H.G.M. Edwards, D.W. Farwell, E.M. Newton, F.R. Perez, Minium; FT-Raman non-destructive analysis applied to an historical controversy, The Analyst, 124(9), 1999, pp. 1323–1326. doi:10.1039/a904083h.

[46] C. Cennini, Il libro dell’arte - The Craftsman’s Handbook, Dover Publications, New York, 1933.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics