Topics in Current Chemistry

, 374:10 | Cite as

Non-invasive Investigations of Paintings by Portable Instrumentation: The MOLAB Experience

  • B. Brunetti
  • C. Miliani
  • F. Rosi
  • B. Doherty
  • L. Monico
  • A. Romani
  • A. Sgamellotti
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Analytical Chemistry for Cultural Heritage


The in situ non invasive methods have experienced a significant development in the last decade because they meet specific needs of analytical chemistry in the field of cultural heritage where  artworks are rarely moved from their locations, sampling is rarely permitted, and analytes are a wide range of inorganic, organic and organometallic substances in complex and precious matrices. MOLAB, a unique collection of integrated mobile instruments, has greatly contributed to demonstrate that it is now possible to obtain satisfactory results in the study of a variety of heritage objects without sampling or moving them to a laboratory. The current chapter describes an account of these results with particular attention to ancient, modern, and contemporary paintings. Several non-invasive methods by portable equipment, including XRF, mid- and near-FTIR, UV–Vis and Raman spectroscopy, as well as XRD, are discussed in detail along with their impact on our understanding of painting materials and execution techniques. Examples of successful applications are given, both for point analyses and hyperspectral imaging approaches. Lines for future perspectives are finally drawn.


X-ray fluorescence Raman spectroscopy FTIR UV–Vis spectroscopy Pigment Binding media 



The MOLAB activities described in this work were possible thanks to the support of the European Commission, through the Research Infrastructure projects Eu-ARTECH (FP6-RII3-CT-2004-506171) and CHARISMA (FP7-GA n. 228330) and of the Laboratorio di Diagnostica di Spoleto. The authors are grateful to several researchers that contributed to MOLAB activities: C. Anselmi, D. Buti, L. Cartechini, A. Chieli, A. Daveri, F. Gabrieli, C. Grazia, P. Moretti, F. Presciutti, M. Vagnini. Kind permission from J. Wiley and Sons to reproduce Fig. 5 (from Ref. [61]) and rearrange Fig. 9 (from Ref. [129]) is acknowledged. Figures 2, 3 and 4 are reproduced from Ref. [80] and Fig. 8 from Ref. [125] with permission of the Royal Society of Chemistry.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Brunetti
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Miliani
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Rosi
    • 2
  • B. Doherty
    • 2
  • L. Monico
    • 2
  • A. Romani
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Sgamellotti
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centro di Eccellenza SMAArt (Scientific Methodologies Applied to Archaeology and Art)Università degli Studi di PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  2. 2.Istituto CNR di Scienze e Tecnologie Molecolari (CNR-ISTM)PerugiaItaly

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