Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 375, Issue 8, pp 1154–1160 | Cite as

Analysis of earthy pigments in grounds of Baroque paintings

  • Tomáš GrygarEmail author
  • Janka Hradilová
  • David Hradil
  • Petr Bezdička
  • Snejana Bakardjieva
Special Issue Paper


Sixteen samples of orange–red and yellow Fe-oxide earthy pigments mainly from bole grounds of Baroque paintings were studied by elemental and phase analysis and voltammetry. Fe, K, and Ti content were found to be suitable for further classification of those earthy pigments. According to the chemical and phase composition the yellow grounds were natural yellow ochres formed by intense chemical weathering in a moderate climate. Very similar phase and elemental composition of part of the orange–red boles indicated their similar geological origin or even their formation by calcination of yellow ochres. Part of the orange–red boles differed significantly from the yellow boles, especially in their increased content of Ti, indicating their relation to end products of intense weathering, e.g. laterites formed in a tropical climate. Analogous materials with a correspondingly large Ti content are not currently commercially available and their geological origin (provenance) is not clear. In several orange–red boles the intentional addition of rather coarse-grained haematite to natural ochre by the painters was assumed on the basis of Fe oxide content and crystallinity.


Painting Bole grounds Earthy pigments Haematite 



The authors are very grateful to their restorer colleagues for kindly providing the samples, namely from the School of Restoration (head Karel Stretti) from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and to Zora Grohmannová from the National Gallery in Prague. Georg Kremer kindly provided the samples of the earthy pigments produced by Kremer Pigmente, Germany. T. Grygar acknowledges a support by Grant Agency of CR (project number 205/00/1349). P. Bezdička and S. Bakardjieva were supported by a project funded by Ministry of Education of CR (project number LN00A028).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomáš Grygar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Janka Hradilová
    • 2
  • David Hradil
    • 1
  • Petr Bezdička
    • 1
  • Snejana Bakardjieva
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Inorganic Chemistry AS CRŘežCzech Republic
  2. 2.Academy of Fine Arts in PraguePrague 7Czech Republic

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