A study of surface optical properties for characterizing the cleaning process of paintings

Year: 2013

Authors: Fontana R., Barucci M., Pampaloni E., Pezzati L., Daffara C.

Autors Affiliation: CNR-INO National Institute of Optics, Largo E. Fermi 6, I-50125, Florence, Italy; Università degli Studi di Verona, Strada Le Grazie, 15, 37134 Verona (IT)

Abstract: \”Cleaning\” is a process of carefully identifying the cause of any deterioration or discolouration and then removing or treating these layers. The skill of the restorer is not only to understand the techniques and media used by the artist, but also to recognize what beauty lies beneath the veils of many years of neglect or adverse conditions. Surface cleaning is then one of the most important and sometimes controversial stages of the conservation process: it is an irreversible process that generally results in substantial physical changes of the object surface, raising thus a series of questions regarding aesthetics, the potential loss of historical information, and the ability to control the cleaning process adequately. Decisions have to be made regarding partial or complete removal of varnish: technical considerations include selection of a method that allows a great deal of control in the cleaning process, so that undesired layers can be removed without damaging the underlying ones by means of traditional cleaning methods, including mechanical or chemical removal. In this work we present a study of the optical properties of painting surfaces for the characterization of the cleaning process. Analyses were carried out by means of laser micro-profilometry and confocal microscopy. Measurements were carried out on a few paintings which are under repair at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence. Selected areas were surveyed with the two above mentioned techniques and results were correlated.

Conference title:

KeyWords: Chemical removals; Historical information; Irreversible process; Laser profilometry; Optical sectioning; Physical changes; Scanning device; Techniques and results, Chemical cleaning; Confocal microscopy; History; Optical properties; Optical tomography; Profilometry; Repair; Statistical mechanics, Surface cleaning
DOI: 10.1117/12.2020738

Citations: 2
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