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

Pigment Analysis – Rudolf v. Alt

Alt Pigmente   Rudolf von Alt (1812-1905) was the most famous Austrian landscape painter of the 19th century. In a co-operation between the Academy of Fine Arts and the Albertina, 16 watercolor paintings as well as a miniature watercolor paint-box and a set of watercolor buttons were analyzed with different analytical methods (µ-XRF, FTIR, XRD, and UV-Vis) in order to identify the painting materials used by the artist. Non-destructive and portable techniques, µ-XRF and UV-Vis were applied for paintings and watercolor buttons. Furthermore, we had the possibility to analyze the watercolor buttons by FTIR microscopy and some of them by XRD. Due to the combination of different analytical techniques the identification of both inorganic and organic components was possible for most of the samples analyzed. Zinc white, ultramarine, Prussian blue, indigo, ochre and cinnabar were identified on the paintings and in the watercolor buttons.
Additionally, lead white, cobalt blue, gamboge, cadmium yellow, red lead and madder were detected. µ-XRF analysis of the investigated paintings, dated between 1829 and 1903, clearly demonstrated that lead white and cobalt blue, which could not be identified in the buttons, have been used by Rudolf von Alt over his entire artistic period. In addition to the pigments, gum Arabic, chalk, gypsum, and blanc fix were identified in the watercolor buttons, the first acting as binding medium, the latter either as substrate for dyes or as extender.

Poster 1
Poster 2


W. Vetter, M. Schreiner:
Characterisation of pigment-binding media systems-comparisaon of non-invasive in-situ reflection FTIR with transmission FTIR microscopy
e-PS 8 (2011) 10-22

W. Vetter, E. Hammerschmid, M. Schreiner:
Möglichkeiten der zerstörungs- und berührungsfreien Farbmessung bei Kunstwerken mit Hilfe der Reflexions-UV/VIS/NIR-Spektroskopie
Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Restauratorenverbandes, Band 13(2011), 76-83