ARTAX, X-ray fluorescence system

Characterization of Historical Pigments

The date of the first synthesis or use of most historical pigments is known. Certain pigments were used after a certain date (post quem), while others disappear before a certain date (ante quem). Creation dates of paintings and other colored objects can be therefore put into chronological order.

In this application example two colored prints of Albrecht Dürer's copperplate “Peter and John heal the lame person“ were examined. The objective was to determine the chronological order of these colorings by characterizing the pigments.

Using the μ-XRF spectrometer ARTAX it could be proven, that one copy was colored in the late 16th century by Georg Mack, while the coloration of the second print took place in the 19th century.

Download the full lab report XRF 422 (PDF)