All the above features are typical of an authentic craquelure which has formed naturally and begin to be noticeable about The microscopic examination of the signature (macro photos no.7, and no.8) evidenced its uniformity with the rest of the painting: it can be seen, in fact, that the colour has worn to the same degree, especially in the more protruding areas, and has not penetrated into the fissures of the craquelure as would have been the case if the signature had been inscribed onto a painted surface that was already old.

Examination under Woods light also showed that the reactions of the signature were comparable to those of the rest of the painting (photo no.9 taken under Woods light).

Having thus ascertained that at least the two side strips of the stretcher are unquestionably original and coeval with this painting, we proceeded to date them scientifically.

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Icons are a telling example of how stylistic considerations alone are not sufficient to establish the date of a painting.

Even though from an art historical standpoint there are clearly distinguishable painting styles, succeeding generations continued to reproduce the best-known and loved styles and themes.

IR spectroscopic analysis permits the analysis of various materials to ascertain their compatibility with the presumed historic period: pigments, binders, glues and varnishes. The laboratory also digitalizes images obtained by the various techniques, carries out examinations under reflected and raking light, and performs microchemical analyses.

Certificates are issued with a clear and exhaustive report on the results of the analyses.

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.

3) with Woods Light and microscope for the examination of restored areas 4) with IR-Reflectography for the examination of the deepest painting layers 5) with microscope, Woods Light and reflectography in order to verify the material uniformity and the ageing of the signature 6) with IR-Spectroscopy for establishing the pigments used and examining the drying of the paint binder attempt to determine the authenticity of a painting must begin with tests and analyses to establish whether the age of the painting and the materials and techniques used are compatible with the presumed date of execution.

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

It is senseless to content oneself with the personal opinions of experts alone in this age of technology and science.

The art market will become trustworthy only when the art lover becomes a connoisseur and, as envisaged by the law, demands a valid certificate.

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 unknown.