Paint analyses are useful for identifying the painting techniques and materials used by the artist, and any deterioration of the surface, as well as revealing the various layers (original decoration, restoration, etc.).
In the context of authentication, our work consists of verifying the coherence of the materials and techniques used in a painting with its assumed date and/or attribution.
We make use of several databases and an extensive bibliography.
Research and preservation-restoration
In the context of preservation-restoration, our studies are aimed at determining the materials used (pigments, fillers, binders, medium, etc.).
This information enables restorers-curators to identify the original painting, as well as any restorations and weathering phenomena, or to determine the best treatments to apply to preserve the paints.
We use a wide variety of analytical methods in this field. They may be divided into two categories:
Study of painting technique
- Optical and electronic microscope imaging to identify the layers of material used (preparation, painting, varnish, etc.) and interactions between them.
- Macroscopic photographs by UV fluorescence, IR reflectography or X-ray to determine the presence of underlying marks and painting over or distinguish between recent and older varnish, etc.
- SEM - EDX analyses and Raman spectroscopy to characterise pigments (mineral or organic) and fillers used.
- Analyses by specific colour tests, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, and gas-phase chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to identify the organic binders and varnish used.