Project: Induced decay in ageing mechanisms in paintings: focus on interactions between pigments and organic binders

Acronym LeadArt
Duration 01/01/2014 - 01/01/2017
Project Topic The study of paintings consists of identifying pigments and binders to highlight the techniques used by the artists but also to propose the most appropriate conservation conditions and restoration treatments. Nowadays, the identification of main organic and inorganic components is achieved by different complementary techniques, but little is known about the interactions betwen these compounds and with external paintings treatments. Of particular interest is the interaction between pigments and organic binders and the induced decay and ageing mechanisms. We propose to focus analytical methodologies on physicochemical interactions between zinc and lead white pigments and proteins, glycoproteins, polysaccharides and lipids; these widely used pigments providing different aspects of paintings. To achieve these objectives, elementary and structural analyses will be employed by the European consortium (France, Italy, Netherlands, Cyprus, Luxemburg) constituted by internationally recognized specialists of Cultural Heritage study (chemists, physicists, conservators, restorators). Novel analytical methodologies providing more accurate information on organic compound chemical modifications will be proposed and adapted for the first time to Cultural Heritage but also, new tools for restoration as nanogels will be studied at molecular level. Based on this novel network, the collaborative research (PhD co-Directions) will be applied to extraordinary paintings of Antonietta Gallone Archive (The Last Supper, Leonardo de Vinci), mural paintings from famous European buildings (Constitutional Council of Paris Palais Royal, Prosper Chabrol), to the canvas collection of Louvre museum (Van Gogh paintings). From an economic point of view, the project will help to launch a new research center dedicated to science and technology in art and archaeology in Cyprus.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
the impact of restoration treatments on original paintings components was evaluated at molecular level, for first time using state of the art analytical techniques. These analytical developments aimed at allowing a better understanding of the mechanical and chemical behaviour of paintings, which represent a large part of the Cultural Heritage we have to preserve. This research contributed to improve conservation conditions and to use the most adapted restoration procedures. Besides, a technology transfer to small and medium enterprises working in the field of Cultural Heritage preservation (scientific analysis and restoration) was provided as well as recent laboratory launching.
Network JPI Cultural Heritage
Call JPI JHEP Pilot Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Sciences and Technologies, Lille Coordinator France
2 Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France, Paris Partner France
3 University of Amsterdam, Partner Netherlands
4 Politecnico of Milan, Milano Partner Italy
5 University of Venice Partner Italy
6 Research Center for Colloids and Nanoscience (CSGI), Firenze Partner Italy
7 XGLab, Milano Partner Italy
8 The Cyprus Institute’s Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center Partner Cyprus
9 Laboratoire Nicolas Garnier, Vic le Comte Partner France
10 Atelier de Restauration Taillefer, Luxembourg Partner Luxembourg