Degradation process of lead chromate in paintings by vincent van gogh studied by means of spectromicroscopic methods. 3. Synthesis, characterization, and detection of different crystal forms of the chrome yellow pigment

Letizia Monico, Koen Janssens, Costanza Miliani, Brunetto Giovanni Brunetti, Manuela Vagnini, Frederik Vanmeert, Gerald Falkenberg, Artem Abakumov, Yinggang Lu, He Tian, Johan Verbeeck, Marie Radepont, Marine Cotte, Ella Hendriks, Muriel Geldof, Luuk Van Der Loeff, Johanna Salvant, Michel Menu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The painter, Vincent van Gogh, and some of his contemporaries frequently made use of the pigment chrome yellow that is known to show a tendency toward darkening. This pigment may correspond to various chemical compounds such as PbCrO4 and PbCr1-xSxO4, that may each be present in various crystallographic forms with different tendencies toward degradation. Investigations by X-ray diffraction (XRD), mid-Fourier Transform infrared (FTIR), and Raman instruments (benchtop and portable) and synchrotron radiation-based micro-XRD and X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy performed on oil-paint models, prepared with in-house synthesized PbCrO4 and PbCr1-xSxO4, permitted us to characterize the spectroscopic features of the various forms. On the basis of these results, an extended study has been carried out on historic paint tubes and on embedded paint microsamples taken from yellow-orange/pale yellow areas of 12 Van Gogh paintings, demonstrating that Van Gogh effectively made use of different chrome yellow types. This conclusion was also confirmed by in situ mid-FTIR investigations on Van Gogh's Portrait of Gauguin (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-859
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Volume85
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

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