What Are the Benefits of Artwork Paint Analysis?

Scientific investigation of art techniques uses modern technologies to evaluate paintings and other artworks. While scientists can use various processes to assess pieces, paint sampling is still a common option. What can paint analysis tell you about a painting?

Whether the Painting Is Genuine Or Not

Paint analysis is a particularly effective way of checking the provenance of a painting. Forgers have such specialist technical skills that you can't always assess if a piece is genuine or not simply by looking at it anymore. A sample of the paint and the right scientific analysis process can give you a definitive answer.

For example, you can use stereo optical microscopes to look at tiny samples of paint. These microscopes show you each individual paint layer in a 3D format. You can use this visual to evaluate whether each layer of paint was added at the same time. If it becomes obvious that paint was added a long time after the piece was painted, then this is an indication that it might have been altered to make it look like a genuine work by a specific artist.

Alternatively, you can use mass spectrometry to analyse the kinds of paints in a painting. This technique works well on older pieces. For example, you should expect to see some lead paint in historic paintings. If you don't, then the piece isn't likely to be genuine because it has been crafted with modern paints.

Whether the Painting Has a Problem

Paint analysis techniques don't just help establish provenance, they are also a useful way of checking the condition of a painting. A sample can tell you a lot about whether a painting has an unseen problem or whether it might develop one in the future.

For example, you can use specialist X-ray scans to look at how paint is aging. These scans can show if a paint or an underlying layer of primer is degrading or undergoing a chemical reaction.

If you can spot these problems early, you can plan conservation work more effectively. You might be able to prevent damage from getting worse. Or, you might get notice that a piece needs to be cared for in a specific way. In either case, you get an early warning of possible problems.

To find out more about the benefits of paint sampling, contact scientific art investigation specialists. They can give you more information about technological investigative techniques and how to use them. Contact a scientific art investigation company to learn more. 

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