Naturwissenschaften und Technologie in der Kunst; Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien; Schillerplatz 3; 1010 Wien
Research > Projects > Material Analysis > Historical Pigments Print

A Collection Analysed with XRD, XRF and FTIR in Order to Create a Database

Pigmente blau

Pigmente gelb

Pigmente gruen


The specimens examined in this study originate from the collection of 19th and 20th century pigments, dyes, and binding media with a wide variety of colours and materials present in our institute. Approximately 400 different inorganic pigments were analysed for this study of its kind by combining x-ray diffraction (XRD), x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The experimental work has focused on x-ray diffraction to detect the main components and to perform phase analysis for the identification of the crystallographic structure. XRF measurements were carried out and complemented by FTIR-spectroscopy to facilitate the analysis of the diffractograms and investigate differences in the elemental composition. The combination of XRD and XRF has enabled phase analysis, whereas FTIR supports primarily the identification of the non-crystalline organic components of the samples.
In some cases, the obtained results show remarkable differences in the composition of the pigments with the same trade name. These differences are either caused by the chemical composition or added components, such as pure white pigments. However, in most cases the chemical structure of the phase determining the colour of the relevant pigment group was similar.

In order to help identifying pigments, a database of the experimental results obtained in this study was created. It is supplemented by additional information about the pigments as found in literature. Additionally, two libraries for XRD and FTIR analysis were compiled containing the measured spectra of all pigments, which can be combined with conventional databases (ICDD, IRUG). This allows extended and direct access to the original information and eases the identification of unknown samples.


B. Hochleitner, V. Desnica, M. Mantler, M. Schreiner:
Historical pigments: a collection analyzed with x-ray diffraction analysis and x-ray fluorescence analysis in order to create a database.
Spectrochemica Acta, Part B 58 (2003) 641-649.

V. Desnica, K. Furic, B. Hochleitner, M. Mantler:
A comparative analysis of five chrome green pigments based on different spectroscopic techniques.
Spectrochemica Acta, Part B 58 (2003) 681-687.

B. Hochleitner, M. Schreiner, M. Mantler:
Historische Pigmente: Identifizierung und Charakterisierung einer Pigmentsammlung zur Erstellung einer Datenbank.
Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie 17/2 (2003), 294-304.