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Material Analysis

Material Analysis malta, Atelier del Restauro malta

We can provide in-depth technical examinations, which include visual and scientific analysis of your artifacts in preparation for subsequent treatment. Scientific examination will also aid in establishing the manufacturing technique of the artifact, provenance, age or authenticity. We work closely with local and foreign institutions that can conduct detailed analytical and scientific analysis of your artifacts to establish for example the composition of pigments, binders and coatings. Specific examinations are only done when required or necessary to aid in the conservation of an artifact.

Services include:

Ultraviolet (UV) light examination: Ultraviolet light detects later restorations that appear darker than the aged original varnish layers. UV can reveal the presence of natural resin varnishes, as these often fluoresce under UV light. It is also possible to identify any overpaintings on top of an aged varnish, since oil paint and newer varnish do not fluoresce under UV. Overpaitings therefore appear as dark patches on the varnish surface.

Infra-red reflectography: Examination of paintings by infrared radiation often reveals changes in composition, damages, fillings and pentimenti. Its most frequent use is in the detection of underdrawing executed with carbon pigments. 

X-ray investigation of flat or three dimensional objects: An X-ray can produce widespread information about the construction of paintings on canvas and on wooden panels. X-ray can also provide an alluring window into the picture’s past by revealing what is hidden in the layers of paint. Modifications and later alterations can be seen that are no longer visible to the naked eye.

Polarized light microscopy: cross-sectional analysis, fiber and pigment identification

Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) : identification of paint media and coatings.

Scanning electron microscopy & Energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS): materials identification and composition.