Macroscale multimodal imaging reveals ancient painting production technology and the vogue in Greco-Roman Egypt

Scientific Reports. 2017;7(1):1-12 DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-15743-5

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Scientific Reports

ISSN: 2045-2322 (Online)

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS

John K. Delaney (National Gallery of Art, 6th and Constitution Avenue NW)
Kathryn A. Dooley (National Gallery of Art, 6th and Constitution Avenue NW)
Roxanne Radpour (Materials Science and Engineering Department, University of California Los Angeles, BOX 951595, Engineering V)
Ioanna Kakoulli (Materials Science and Engineering Department, University of California Los Angeles, BOX 951595, Engineering V)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Abstract Macroscale multimodal chemical imaging combining hyperspectral diffuse reflectance (400–2500 nm), luminescence (400–1000 nm), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF, 2 to 25 keV) data, is uniquely equipped for noninvasive characterization of heterogeneous complex systems such as paintings. Here we present the first application of multimodal chemical imaging to analyze the production technology of an 1,800-year-old painting and one of the oldest surviving encaustic (“burned in”) paintings in the world. Co-registration of the data cubes from these three hyperspectral imaging modalities enabled the comparison of reflectance, luminescence, and XRF spectra at each pixel in the image for the entire painting. By comparing the molecular and elemental spectral signatures at each pixel, this fusion of the data allowed for a more thorough identification and mapping of the painting’s constituent organic and inorganic materials, revealing key information on the selection of raw materials, production sequence and the fashion aesthetics and chemical arts practiced in Egypt in the second century AD.