Advertisement

Applied Physics A

, Volume 106, Issue 1, pp 25–34 | Cite as

On the discovery of an unusual luminescent pigment in Van Gogh’s painting “Les bretonnes et le pardon de pont Aven”

  • D. ComelliEmail author
  • A. Nevin
  • A. Brambilla
  • I. Osticioli
  • G. Valentini
  • L. Toniolo
  • M. Fratelli
  • R. Cubeddu
Article

Abstract

Spectrally and lifetime-resolved UV-induced luminescence imaging have been applied to the in situ analysis of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting on paper “Les bretonnes et le pardon de pont Aven”. The in situ investigation revealed the presence of an unusual microsecond green emission from the white painted areas of the watercolour, and this long-lived emission has not been reported in modern paintings by other authors. In order to attribute and suggest an identification of the luminescent pigment, our analysis was integrated with further measurements on commercially available modern white pigments (zinc white, Lithopone white, Blanc Fixe, zinc sulphide, and copper-doped zinc sulphide) and with an in-depth study of the synthesis processes of zinc-based pigments available at the end of the 19th century. Analysis suggested an attribution of the unusual emission from the Van Gogh painting to a particular variety of zinc sulphide pigment, characterized by the presence of copper impurities which were unintentionally introduced in the crystal matrix during its production. The present study is the first application of lifetime imaging for the mapping of long-lived luminescence from the semi-conductor pigment.

Keywords

Zinc Sulphide White Pigment Paint Sample Emission Decay Copper Impurity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Authors wish to thank Lucia Tarantola for her valuable help and guidance during the in situ analysis of the Van Gogh painting at the Milano Modern Art Gallery.

References

  1. 1.
    D. Bomford, J. Leighton, J. Kirby, A. Roy, Impressionism: Art in the Making (Yale University Press, London, 1990) Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. Katlan, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 38, 21 (1999) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    G. Van der Snickt, J. Dik, M. Cotte, K. Janssens, J. Jaroszewicz, W. De Nolf, J. Groenewegen, L. Van der Loeff, Anal. Chem. 81, 2600 (2009) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    L. Monico, G. Van der Snickt, K. Janssens, W. De Nolf, C. Miliani, J. Verbeeck, H. Tian, H. Tan, J. Dik, M. Radepont, M. Cotte, Anal. Chem. 83, 1214 (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    L. Monico, G. Van der Snickt, K. Janssens, W. De Nolf, C. Miliani, J. Verbeeck, J. Dik, M. Radepont, E. Hendriks, M. Gelodf, M. Cotte, Anal. Chem. 83, 1224 (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    F. Casadio, S. Xie, S.C. Rukes, B. Myers, K.A. Gray, R. Warta, I. Fiedler, Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 399, 2909 (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. Dik, K. Janssens, G. Van Der Snickt, L. van der Loeff, K. Rickers, M. Cotte, Anal. Chem. 80, 6436 (2008) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    M. Bacci, M. Picollo, G. Trumpy, M. Tsukada, D. Kunzelman, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 46, 27 (2007) Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    C. Miliani, F. Rosi, A. Burnstock, B.G. Brunetti, A. Sgamellotti, Appl. Phys. A 89, 849 (2007) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    F. Rosi, A. Burnstock, K.J. Van den Berg, C. Miliani, B. Brunetti, A. Sgamellotti: Spectrochim. Acta, Part A, Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc. 71, 1655 (2009) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    F. Rosi, C. Miliani, C. Clementi, K. Kahrim, F. Presciutti, M. Vagnini, V. Manuali, A. Daveri, L. Cartechini, B.G. Brunetti, A. Sgamellotti, Appl. Phys. A 100, 613 (2010) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    J.K. Delaney, E. Walmsley, B.H. Berrie, C.F. Fletcher, in Scientific Examination of Art—Modern Techniques in Conservation and Analysis (2005), p. 120 Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    J.K. Delaney, J.G. Zeibel, M. Thoury, R. Littleton, M. Palmer, K.M. Morales, E.R. de la Rie, A. Hoenigswald, Appl. Spectrosc. 64, 584 (2010) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    F. Hocquet, H. Calvo del Castillo, A. Cervera Xicotencat, C. Bourgeois, C. Oger, A. Marchal, M. Clar, S. Rakkaa, E. Micha, D. Strivay, Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 399, 3109 (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/. Letters 712, 823, and 827
  16. 16.
    D. Comelli, C. D’Andrea, G. Valentini, R. Cubeddu, C. Colombo, L. Toniolo, Appl. Opt. 43, 2175 (2004) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    D. Comelli, G. Valentini, A. Nevin, A. Farina, L. Toniolo, R. Cubeddu, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 79, 086112 (2008) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    D. Comelli, A. Nevin, G. Valentini, I. Osticioli, E.M. Castellucci, L. Toniolo, D. Gulotta, R. Cubeddu, J. Cult. Heritage 12, 11 (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    G. Verri, C. Clementi, D. Comelli, S. Cather, F. Piqué, Appl. Spectrosc. 62, 11 (2008) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    L. Simonot, M. Thoury, J. Delaney, J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 28, 1349 (2011) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    D.V. O’Connor, D. Phillips, Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting (Academic Press, London, 1984) Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    B. Zitova, J. Flusser, Image Vis. Comput. 21, 977 (2003) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    B. Marino, Paints quantified Image analytical studies of preparatory grounds used by Van Gogh. Ph.D. thesis, University of Amsterdam (2006) Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    D. Anglos, M. Solomidou, I. Zergioti, V. Zafiropulos, T.G. Papazoglou, C. Fotakis, Appl. Spectrosc. 50, 1331 (1996) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    I. Borgia, R. Fantoni, C. Flamini, T.M.D. Palma, A.G. Guidoni, A. Mele, Appl. Surf. Sci. 127–129, 95 (1998) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    M. Thoury, J.P. Echard, M. Refregiers, B. Berrie, A. Nevin, F. Jamme, L. Bertrand, Anal. Chem. 83, 1737 (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    J.P. Colinge, C.A. Colinge, Physics of Semiconductor Devices (Springer, New York, 2002) Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    K. Vanheusden, C.H. Seager, W.L. Warren, D.R. Tallant, J. Caruso, M.J. Hampden-Smith, T.T. Kodas, J. Lumin. 75, 11 (1997) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    E. Becquerel, C. R. Acad. Sci. LXIII, 188 (1866) Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    H.W. Leverenz, An Introduction to Luminescence of Solids (Wiley, New York, 1950) Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    G. Buxbaum, Industrial Inorganic Pigments (Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 1993) Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    W.M. Yen, S. Shionoya, H. Yamamoto, Phosphor Handbook (CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2007) Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    W.J. O’Brien, J. Phys. Chem. 19, 113 (1915) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    C.L. Uebele, Paint Making and Color Grinding (The Trade Papers Publishing Co., 1913) Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    M. Van Alphen, Paint Film Components (National Environmental Health Forum, Adelaide, 1998) Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    The manufacture of lithopone: Ind. Eng. Chem. 4, 775 (1912). doi: 10.1021/ie50046a029 Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    J.K. Almond, in 2000 Years of Zinc and Brass (British museum, London, 1998), pp. 159–228 Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    C. Miliani, K. Kahrim, B.G. Brunetti, A. Sgamellotti, A. Aldrovandi, M.R. van Bommel, K.J. van den Berg, H. Janssens, in Proc. 15th Trienn. Conf. ICOM-CC. New Dehli (2008), pp. 244–251 Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    A. Romani, C. Clementi, C. Miliani, B.G. Brunetti, A. Sgamellotti, G. Favaro, Appl. Spectrosc. 62, 1395 (2008) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Comelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Nevin
    • 1
  • A. Brambilla
    • 1
  • I. Osticioli
    • 1
  • G. Valentini
    • 1
  • L. Toniolo
    • 2
  • M. Fratelli
    • 3
  • R. Cubeddu
    • 4
  1. 1.Dipartimento di FisicaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di ChimicaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly
  3. 3.Galleria d’Arte Moderna di MilanoMilanoItaly
  4. 4.IFN-CNR, Dipartimento di FisicaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

Personalised recommendations