Journal Highlight: Characterization of aging and solvent treatments of painted surfaces using single-sided NMR

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  • Published: Oct 14, 2016
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: NMR Knowledge Base
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Characterization of aging and solvent treatments of painted surfaces using single-sided NMR
Single-sided NMR confirms observed differences between two 17th century paintings with different treatment histories, and monitors the effect of different organic solvent application techniques on painted surfaces.

Characterization of aging and solvent treatments of painted surfaces using single-sided NMR

Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, 2016, 53, 58-63.
Gwendoline R. Fife, Bascha Stabik, Allison E. Kelley, Jared N. King, Bernhard Blümich, René Hoppenbrouwers and Tyler Meldrum

Abstract: Typical experiments conducted with single-sided NMR are incapable of unique chemical identification and, thus, often rely on comparative measurements in scientific study. However, cultural heritage objects have unique natures and histories, making a genuine ‘control’ sample a rarity and complicating many scientific investigations. In this paper, we present some comparative results enabled by such a rare, control sample. Two paintings, The Dinner and The Dance from the 1616 set Pipenpoyse Wedding, were made by the same artist with indistinguishable materials and techniques. However, despite their shared history, The Dinner has undergone varnishing and subsequent varnish removal multiple times, whereas The Dance has not. NMR measurements on these two paintings show the effect of organic-solvent-based treatments on the stiffness of the paintings as measured by T2,eff, supporting visual and tactile observations that The Dinner is stiffer throughout its thickness than The Dance, probably due to ingress of natural resins and organic solvents into the paint and ground layers. In addition to a comparative analysis of these two paintings, initial experiments to compare solvent penetration with different varnish removal methods are described. Model canvas painting samples were treated with solvent in two ways—with free solvent on a swab and with cellulose gel thickened solvent in a tissue. Both treatment methods cause a measurable change in T2,eff; however, the thickened-solvent method affects a narrower region of the model than does the free solvent.

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