XRF Mapping Used to Analyze Historic Paintings at the Fitzwilliam Museum

It’s pretty interesting seeing what is going on underneath the surface of many paintings. This video provides an overview of the useful information gleaned by conservators and museum staff from XRF analysis. Often, there may be a different painting entirely beneath the finished surface. In these instances, the canvas was reused for the sake of economy. The instruments necessary to provide such an analysis are expensive, but often available to cultural heritage institutions with the funding available to access the equipment and services. It can also provide insight into the materials that were used to create the painting: pigment sources, mineral composition, chemical composition and varnishes or lacquers.

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