Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

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For the identification of the material composition of artworks so-called non-destructive analytical methods are preferred for obvious reasons, which allow the determination of the chemical composition without sampling or modifying the investigated objects. Miniaturization in recent years in the field of equipment and computer technology also enables a non-invasive determination of the material composition in collections or archaeological sites to avoid transport or climate change for the art and cultural history works. The techniques used are X-ray Fluorescence analysis (XRF) and the compound-specific methods of UV-Vis, infrared (FTIR), and Raman spectroscopy.

Montage of two photos with the respective investigation arrangements XRF of the Gothic panel Madonna with Child and a metal sculpture in The Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, photo © INTK 

The old book with X-ray fluorescence machine XRF of a medieval manuscript in the library of the St. Catherine Monastery, Sinai/Egypt, photo © INTK 

Examination arrangement during the analysis UV-Vis spectroscopy of Franz West drawings in the institute, photo © INTK 

Student at work with the UV-examination device and the old handwriting Raman spectroscopy of a medieval manuscript in the National and University Library in Ljubljana/Slovenia, photo © INTK 

For the identification of organic natural products in traditional as well as synthetic materials in modern and contemporary art, the methods of infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy are applied. Furthermore, pyrolysis gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) are employed, where sampling is required.

Tiny device and 1 cent for size comparison Small samples are pressed by two diamonds and analyzed in transmission with an IR microscope, photo © INTK 

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