Research projects

Reactivity and material transport in paintings

Led by
Ester S. B. Ferreira
Eleanor Cato (Doctoral Fellow), Roel Hendrickx (Postdoctoral Fellow), Jaap J. Boon (Associate Fellow), Karoline Beltinger, Nadim C. Scherrer, Karin Wyss
Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), Villigen (Federica Marone, Luca Quaroni, Camelia Borca, Anders Kaestner), ETH Zürich (Renato Zenobi), EMPA (Dübendorf, Dominique Derome), Technical University Eindhoven (Henk Huinink)

Project description

The project was part of SIK-ISEA’s Fellowship Programme.

This project was dedicated to the study and preservation of Swiss art and brought together Swiss expert institutions in analytical chemistry, art technology, conservation, and physics. Within this project we developed an innovative approach towards the characterisation and understanding of reactivity and mobility of reaction products in paint layers.

Our course of action was divided into two subprojects:

Within the subproject reactivity and material transport in paintings by Ferdinand Hodler, Cuno Amiet, and their contemporaries we aimed on the one hand to better understand the reactivity of certain pigments by characterising altered paint systems and degradation products. On the other hand we aimed for an analytical documentation of material mobility between and within paint layers.

The subproject understanding water uptake, gradient formation and material transport in canvas paintings was a study of the interaction between water and the complex multilayered structure and composition of paintings.

The project was supported by:

Swiss Re, Zürich