Degradation of azurite in mural paintings: distribution of copper carbonate, chlorides and oxalates by SRFTIR
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This article illustrates the analysis by synchrotron micro-analytical techniques of an azurite painting presenting greenish chromatic degradation. The challenge of the experiments was to obtain the spatial distribution of the degradation products of azurite. Copper hydroxychlorides, carbonates and copper oxalates have been mapped by SR FTIR imaging of cross sections in transmission mode. To complement the information, Py/GC/MS and GC/MS techniques were applied in order to characterize the binding media and organic materials present as well as their degradation products. Results contribute to a better understanding of the decay of blue areas in ancient paintings not only from the particular point of view of azurite weathering, but also by adding information regarding the oxalates’ formation and their distribution in painting samples. Synchrotron radiation demonstrates its capability for the mapping in painting cross sections.
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