Thursday, 31 July 2008

Fluorescence Mapping

Vincent van Gogh - Portrait Under Patch of Grass (1887)This portrait of an unknown woman by Vincent van Gogh was revealed when scientists applied a new technique to investigate the pigments under his painting Patch of Grass (1887). The scientists - Joris Dik, Koen Janssens et al - bombarded the painting with X-rays from a particle accelerator to cause its pigments to emit their own x-ray chemical signatures, enabling a colour map of the hidden work to be produced, presumably by computer. Either that or it's another Worth1000 Photoshop jest! For the technically minded, click the title link to read their paper: Visualization of a Lost Painting by Vincent van Gogh Using Synchrotron Radiation Based X-ray Fluorescence Elemental Mapping (2008). For laypeople, the two important things to grasp are: 1) this is a non-destructive method, so the painting is safe, and 2) it produces a far better X-ray image than anything ever seen before. Well done, lads. Now why not investigate some quality paintings by good artists?


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