Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Green pigment in old masters a myth

17.03.2005


Old masters never used the green pigment copper resinate supposed to be present in their paintings. Dutch art historian Margriet van Eikema Hommes reached this conclusion on the basis of old paint recipes, investigations of paintings and experiments to reproduce the green paint. The scientist recently published her results in a richly-illustrated book.



Green copper-containing glazed paint on oil paintings by artists such as Frans Hals, Raphael and Titian was not made by dissolving the pigment verdigris - a green copper salt - in warm varnish to produce copper resinate. A careful study of dozens of previously ignored old paint recipes demonstrates that the paint was in fact made from finely-powdered verdigris mixed with a cold oil or vanish.

Van Eikema Hommes discovered that the copper resinate myth arose in about 1914. The chemist Laurie found two recipes for green paint in which verdigris was dissolved in warm varnish; a method which results in copper resinate. Laurie and many after him failed to see that these two recipes were intended for glass, furniture and metal foil and that there were dozens of other recipes for paintings on panels or canvas.


The researcher was the first to thoroughly compare old texts and modern analysis results. She studied recipes and techniques from various countries and periods. From this she could deduce which techniques were representative and which not. She also reproduced paints using old recipes in order to compare their composition with the analysis results from paintings.

Up until now the old sources were mainly used to illustrate the data obtained from scientific research. Scientists sought a recipe that supported the data and ignored sources which deviated from the analysis results. That was also the case for copper resinate. However a further problem was that chemists repeatedly failed to analyse the paint samples from old paintings in sufficient detail. This led to the false belief that copper resinate was involved.

Van Eikema Hommes’ book is based on her doctoral research (completed with distinction) which was part of Molart, a programme from NWO that examined the molecular aspects of aging in paintings. The NWO programme De Mayerne is the sequel to the Molart programme. Van Eikema Hommes previously discovered that the characteristic dark shadows in Raphael’s last painting, The Transfiguration of Christ, were never intended by the artist.

Dr Margriet van Eikema Hommes | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOP_6A2DF8_Eng

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ceramic technologies for highly efficient power-to-X processes
10.10.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme IKTS

nachricht Growing and moving
10.10.2019 | University of Freiburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

Im Focus: How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

How do some neutron stars become the strongest magnets in the Universe? A German-British team of astrophysicists has found a possible answer to the question of how these so-called magnetars form. Researchers from Heidelberg, Garching, and Oxford used large computer simulations to demonstrate how the merger of two stars creates strong magnetic fields. If such stars explode in supernovae, magnetars could result.

How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

Im Focus: Liquifying a rocky exoplanet

A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.

Rocky exoplanets that are around Earth-size are comparatively small, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect and characterise using telescopes. What...

Im Focus: Axion particle spotted in solid-state crystal

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spotted a famously elusive particle: The axion – first predicted 42 years ago as an elementary particle in extensions of the standard model of particle physics.

The team found signatures of axion particles composed of Weyl-type electrons (Weyl fermions) in the correlated Weyl semimetal (TaSe₄)₂I. At room temperature,...

Im Focus: A cosmic pretzel

Twin baby stars grow amongst a twisting network of gas and dust

The two baby stars were found in the [BHB2007] 11 system - the youngest member of a small stellar cluster in the Barnard 59 dark nebula, which is part of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrochemistry to benefit photonics: Nanotubes can control laser pulses

11.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologically inspired skin improves robots' sensory abilities (Video)

11.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New electrolyte stops rapid performance decline of next-generation lithium battery

11.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>