In situ investigations of vault paintings in the Antwerp cathedral

TitelIn situ investigations of vault paintings in the Antwerp cathedral
AuteursDeneckere, A, Schudel, W, van Bos, M, Wouters, H, Bergmans, A, Vandenabeele, P, Moens, L
Titel van het tijdschriftSpectrochimica acta. Part A, Molecular and biomolecular spectroscopy
Volume of jaargang75
Nummer binnen de jaargang2
Begin en eindpagina's511-519
ISSN Nummer1386-1425

X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) and Raman spectroscopy have been used to examine 15th century mediaeval and 16th century renaissance vault paintings in the Our Lady's Cathedral (Antwerp, Belgium) in view of their restoration. The use of mobile instruments made it possible to work totally non-destructively. This complementary approach yields information on the elemental (XRF) and on the molecular composition (Raman) of the pigments. For the 15th century vault painting the pigments lead–tin yellow (Pb2SnO4), lead white (2PbCO3·Pb(OH)2), vermilion (HgS), massicot (PbO) and azurite (2CuCO3·Cu(OH)2) could be identified. The pigments used for the 16th century vault painting could be identified as red lead (Pb3O4), hematite (Fe2O3), lead white (2PbCO3·Pb(OH)2) and azurite (2CuCO3·Cu(OH)2). For both paintings the presence of the strong Raman scatterer calcite (CaCO3) resulted in a difficult identification of the pigments by Raman spectroscopy. The presence of gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) on the mediaeval vault painting probably indicates that degradation took place.


Article Outline
2.The site
2.1. Mediaeval vault painting
2.2. Renaissance vault painting
3.1. XRF spectroscopy
3.2. Raman spectroscopy
4.Results and discussion
4.1. Conditions
4.2. Pigment identification of the mediaeval vault painting
4.2.1. Supporting layer
4.2.2. Red layers
4.2.3. Green layers
4.2.4. Blue layers
4.3. Pigment identification of the renaissance vault painting
4.3.1. Supporting layer
4.3.2. Red layers
4.3.3. Gold and tin layer
4.3.4. Blue layer

Citation KeyDeneckere:2010aa