Naturwissenschaften und Technologie in der Kunst; Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien; Schillerplatz 3; 1010 Wien
Research > Projects > Degradation and Stability of Materials > Light Stability of Materials Print

Light Stability of Pigments and Dyes

UV/Vis-spectrometer for color identification.

Several important Austrian Painters of the 19th century used watercolors as favorite medium for their artwork, e.g. Rudolf von Alt (1812-1905) and Moritz Michael Daffinger (1790-1849). The Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts and the Albertina Vienna hold a large number of works of these painters, thus it is important to know, which materials have been applied and how they will alter over the years.

These questions have been studied using x-ray fluorescence analysis (µ-XRF), infrared- (FTIR microscopy) and UV/visible-light (UV/Vis spectrometry).

UV/Vis-spectrometer for color identification.  

A set of pigments used by Rudolf von Alt could be identified analyzing watercolor buttons and paintings by use of µ-XRF and FTIR microscopy. Furthermore, artificial ageing has been performed with the original materials in order to gain information concerning the long-term behavior of the materials of the paintings (cooperation with the Photonics Institute, Vienna University of Technology, and Albertina, Vienna).

For this purpose, a minimal-sampling technique was developed. UV/Vis-spectroscopy enables the evaluation of the visible condition of paintings, provides data for the identification of pigments and is also used for the quantification of alterations caused by ageing processes. In order to investigate paintings by UV/Vis spectroscopy in a safe and accurate manner, a device (xy-stage) for contactless fiber optic measurements was designed and constructed for paintings up to 110 x 80 cm². UV/Vis micro-spectroscopy was also applied in cooperation with the Institute of Chemical Engineering of the Vienna University of Technology for the characterization of madder pigments and dyes.

Rudolf von Alt (1812-1905) watercolour.
  Rudolf von Alt (1812-1905) watercolour.

Poster 1

Poster 2