Painting Research

  • Painting research and project assistance

JAAP Enterprise will perform painting research with macroscopic and microscopic imaging techniques. We are specialized in understanding interactions and complex chemical reactivity between paint layers. Preliminary surface studies are carried out with Hirox digital microscopes. Microsampling and subsequent microscopy and spectroscopy is applied to determine the layer structure of the paint-ground composite. Data are interpreted in the context of the creation process and aging of the artwork.

  • High resolution 3D Hirox microscopy

High definition surface microscopy is performed with the KH-7700 digital microscope. The 3D in focus digital images provide accurate measurements of microscopic details. These photos assist conservators during a restoration. Hirox data are uniquely suitable for examination of art work before and after exhibition transport. Hirox photos will satisfy the desire of the public to more closely “see” details of the technique of the artist on their i-pad or i-phone.

  • Paint cross sections

Paint microchips are either investigated with SEM-EDX directly or after embedding with light curing resin and further polishing to a high quality cross section. Cross section polishing is carried out with MOPAS XS polishing devices that ensure high quality surfaces for microscopy and spectroscopy.

  • Argon ion polishing

Paint micro-chips or down-sized resin embedded paint samples are ion polished in a JEOL CP cross section polisher which ensures high quality section surfaces. This procedure often follows a manual MOPAS XS polishing procedure.

  • Thin sections

This sections are made with the MOPAS XS polisher. The first step is the production of the cross section surface of interest. After complete study of this surface with microscopy and spectroscopy an isolation coating is applied and this side of the paint chip is mounted on a suitable surface. The MOPAS XS polisher is used to down polish the sample to a thickness of about 15 microns or less. This approach is used for imaging micro-XRD and imaging FTIR in synchrotron beam lines.

  • X-ray tomography

Paint chips are mounted on a 500 micrometer diameter pin that is rotated in a micro-Xray beam from a synchrotron beam line. Data sets are analysed with Avizo software to obtain 3D tomographic pictures and videos. Studies have been carried out on samples from Vermeer painting for the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam using the TOMCAT beam line at the SLS synchrotron of PSI in Villigen Switzerland.

  • Scanning Electron microscopy (SEM)

Paint micro-chips mounted on carbon sticky tape or mounted embedded polished cross scetions are investigated in secondary electron mode or back scattered electron mode. JAAP Enterprise has access to high performance SEM machines.

  • EDX analysis of paint chips and cross sections

Energy dispersed Xray analysis (EDX) is applied inside a SEM to obtain elemental composition as a point measurement or in mapping mode. This allows determination of composition of pigment and filler particles in cross sections or loose paint chips.

  • Light microscopy VIS and UV

Light microscopic analysis is performed with Visible and UV-fluorescence modes to study the distribution of pigment particles in cross section. This microscopy is also used to monitor the progress of the polishing process of embedded cross sections.

  • Imaging FTIR

JAAP Enterprise has access to imaging FTIR in reflection of ATR mode to obtain information on the distribution of binding media and inorganic phases in paint cross sections.

  • Raman spectroscopy

JAAP Enterprise has access to Raman spectroscopy to obtain information on the distribution of  inorganic phases in paint cross sections.

  • Mass spectrometry

Mass spectrometry is a powerful tool to investigate the organic molecular composition of binding media, varnishies and organic colorants in paintings. The mass spectrometric approach – GCMS, DTMS, ESIMS, or MALDIMS – depends on the specific research objective. Data are obtained in collaboration. JAAP Enterprise is experienced in MS data interpretation and extrapolation to the condition of the artwork.