, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 69-76
Date: 28 Mar 2008

The influence of visible light and inorganic pigments on fluorescence excitation emission spectra of egg-, casein- and collagen-based painting media

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Spectrofluorimetric analysis of proteinaceous binding media is particularly promising because proteins employed in paintings are often fluorescent and media from different sources have significantly different fluorescence spectral profiles. Protein-based binding media derived from eggs, milk and animal tissue have been used for painting and for conservation, but their analysis using non-destructive techniques is complicated by interferences with pigments, their degradation and their low concentration. Changes in the fluorescence excitation emission spectra of films of binding media following artificial ageing to an equivalent of 50 and 100 years of museum lighting include the reduction of bands ascribed to tyrosine, tryptophan and Maillard reaction products and an increase in fluorescent photodegradation. Fluorescence of naturally aged paint is dependent on the nature of the pigment present and, with egg-based media, in comparison with un-pigmented films, emissions ascribed to amino acids are more pronounced.