Dating painting canvas

25-Apr-2017 08:05

Thanks to the laboratory's modern equipment, a painting can be subjected to analysis using infrared reflectography, Wood's light, a stereoscopic microscope, IR spectroscopy and other instrumental techniques.3 e 4 - Microscopic analysis to examine the signs of ageing in the paint layer: the nature of the craquelure (natural or artificial - deep or superficial), the pigments (crystallinity, purity and size), restoration and other factors.Wood's light and monochromatic lights permit an evaluation of the extent to which the painting has been restored, touched up and overpainted, as well as the identification of various fluorescent substances.7, 8 e 9 - Infrared reflectography permits an in-depth examination of the painting bringing to light underdrawings or grids, pentimenti, the depth of the craquelure, and identification of restoration work or the use of different materials.Only the dating of the wood, therefore, can permit certain and unequivocal classification.A careful preliminary examination of the edges brought to light the presence of a set of new nails, whilst there are numerous free holes left by preceding nails.These observations therefore attest to the fact that the signature is contemporary with the painting.An overall examination of the painting under Woods light showed up a little number of restored areas, particularly to the upper right in correspondence with the sky: in fact under Woods light these areas appear as dark patches. 10 taken with the help of specific filters and subsequent digital elaboration.

The Museum laboratorys mission is to improve existing scientific methods and elaborate new methods for the ascertainment of the authenticity of art objects.

The development of the same is also logical: it varies according to the different colours and in particular is more marked in the light-coloured areas which, containing less binder, are also less elastic and the first to develop cracks (macro photos no.5 and no.6).

Near the edges on either side of the painting there are also parallel cracks exactly over the inside corner of the underlying stretcher; this is a characteristic typical of a canvas which has been attached to its stretcher for a long time.

Whilst this type of ascertainment is to the dealers advantage, for buyers it could mean the almost total loss of their investment if one day this overemphasis on the signature were considered illogical and mistaken and a more traditional way of attributing art returned to the various component materials of the painting and its support.

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Any incompatibility between the measured ages and information on the presumed author reveals to the owner, before he seeks an expert opinion, that he has acquired one of the myriad recent copies in circulation.Furthermore, when dating tests give negative results, dealers often tend to maintain that it is not the art work that is at fault but the scientific test result, or that the method is originals as long as buyers of art refuse to follow the same line of conduct adopted when acquiring other products, that is to say insisting on a dependable guarantee of the objects authenticity as the condition for its purchase.In the past, when called on to appraise and attribute a painting, art experts examined only the surface under natural light.