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Technical investigation of the materials and methods utilized in a copy of a 17th century Dutch genre painting Gerrit Dou's "Man Interrupted at His Writing" (1635)

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Description: Multiple analytical examinations of the painting Man Interrupted at His Writing by cross sectional analysis, ultraviolet and polarized light microscopy, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray fluorescence microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray analysis, X-radiography, infrared reflectrometry, Fourier-Transform infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry have lead to the identification of several materials utilized by the unknown artist. The pigments identified were lead white, calcium carbonate white, red and yellow iron oxides, umbers, carbon black, Prussian blue, red and yellow lakes, as well as van Dyke brown. Several generations of dammar resin varnish, with a final coat of cellulose containing varnish were detected as well. While this data was unable to authenticate the painting as one by Gerrit Dou or a copy by a 17 th century follower, the investigation did provide critical information that tentatively dated the painting to the late 18 th century and precluded that this unattributed copy was not an intentional fake or forgery. The spectrum of analytical methods utilized in this investigation highlighted the role of analytical chemistry in the examination and authentication of works of art.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work