Special Issue "Advances of Analytical Chemistry in Cultural Heritage"

A special issue of Heritage (ISSN 2571-9408).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Austin Nevin
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IFN-CNR), Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
Interests: conservation science; wall paintings; pigments; technical study; degradation of materials; analysis of organic media; polymer degradation; fluorescence spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy; Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; spectral imaging; photonics; preventive conservation
Prof. Dr. João Pedro Veiga
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Conservation and Restoration, CENIMAT/i3N, NOVA School of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
Interests: cultural heritage; ceramics; glasses; mortars; pigments; mining heritage; mineralogy; crystallography; crystal chemistry; nanomaterials; nanotechnology; synchrotron radiation; x-ray absorption spectroscopy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Lynn Lee
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA
Interests: conservation science; non-invasive or minimally invasive analysis; technical study; X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy; pigments; modern materials; material degradation; chemical imaging

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Conservation science is a rapidly-evolving field, with a great deal of research worldwide dedicated to the study and analysis of tangible heritage. Due to the highly heterogeneous and changing chemistry of cultural heritage, there is a need to better understand the composition and degradation of works of art. Only through careful study will suitable preventive measures to monitor and manage future changes be devised and implemented.

The analysis of cultural heritage and heritage materials is the focus of this Special Issue, which aims to showcase novel research applications and review recent research in applied analytical chemistry. This issue focuses on widespread applications of analytical techniques for the study of heritage in its broadest sense—from paintings to ceramics, from organic materials to stone, and from wall paintings to works on paper—with the inclusion of antiquities to modern works of art.

The technical study of works of art, the study of material degradation and the development of analytical methods are of particular interest for the Special Issue. Other areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

Case studies of applications of in situ, ex situ and destructive/non-destructive analytical methods to the study of heritage;

the combination of complementary analytical methods for detecting change, including thermal and mechanical studies of material properties;

advances in analytical methods and the use of novel techniques or sensors;

applications of material and environmental modelling;

research from large-scale and mobile infrastructures for investigating cultural heritage

Dr. Austin Nevin
Dr. João Pedro Veiga
Dr. Lynn Lee
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Heritage is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
GC/MS Characterization of Beeswax, Protein, Gum, Resin, and Oil in Romano-Egyptian Paintings
Heritage 2019, 2(3), 1960-1985; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2030119 - 17 Jul 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1870
Abstract
This article presents results from a binding media survey of 61 Romano-Egyptian paintings. Most of the paintings (51) are the better-known funerary mummy portraits created using either encaustic or tempera paint medium. Samples from all the paintings (on wooden panels or linen shrouds) [...] Read more.
This article presents results from a binding media survey of 61 Romano-Egyptian paintings. Most of the paintings (51) are the better-known funerary mummy portraits created using either encaustic or tempera paint medium. Samples from all the paintings (on wooden panels or linen shrouds) were analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to identify waxes, fatty acids, resins, oils, and proteins in one sample. Analytical protocols that utilized three separate derivatization techniques were developed. The first analysis identified free fatty acids, waxes, and fatty acid soaps, the second characterized oils and plant resins, and the third identified proteins. The identification of plant gums required a separate sample. Results showed that fatty acids in beeswax were present as lead soaps and dicarboxylic fatty acids in some samples was consistent with an oxidized oil. The tempera portraits were found to contain predominantly animal glue, revising the belief that egg was the primary binder used for ancient paintings. Degraded egg coatings were found on several portraits, as well as consolidation treatments using paraffin wax and animal glue. The unknown restoration history of the portraits caused uncertainty during interpretation of the findings and made the identification of ancient paint binders problematic. Also, deterioration of the wooden support, residues from mummification, biodegradation, beeswax alteration, metal soap formation, and environmental conditions before and after burial further complicated the analysis. The inherent problems encountered while characterizing ancient organic media in funerary portraits were addressed. The fourteen museums that participated in this study are members of APPEAR (Ancient Panel Paintings: Examination, Analysis, and Research), an international collaborative initiative at the J. Paul Getty Museum whose aim is to expand our understanding of ancient panel paintings through the examination of the materials and techniques used for their manufacture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Analytical Chemistry in Cultural Heritage)
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Article
The Choir Books of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice: Results of in Depth Non-Invasive Analyses
Heritage 2019, 2(2), 1684-1701; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020103 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1775
Abstract
This paper discusses a cross-disciplinary, international collaboration aimed at researching a series of 15th century choir books at the abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore on the homonymous island in Venice. Produced for the abbey itself, the books have never left the island during [...] Read more.
This paper discusses a cross-disciplinary, international collaboration aimed at researching a series of 15th century choir books at the abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore on the homonymous island in Venice. Produced for the abbey itself, the books have never left the island during their 500-year history, thereby allowing a unique opportunity to analyse historic artefacts, which have undergone little modification over time. Prompted by ongoing cataloguing work on the manuscripts, a week-long analytical campaign using a combination of non-invasive analytical methods used in portable configuration allowed the comprehensive characterisation of ten volumes. The manuscripts’ palette and painting techniques were analysed using near-infrared imaging, reflectance spectroscopy in the UV-vis-NIR range, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence mapping and digital microscopy. The paper will discuss the challenges linked to the fragility and the large dimensions of the volumes as well as the most interesting results of the investigation. These include the detection of unusual painting materials such as bismuth ink, as well as the discovery of a less homogeneous palette than originally expected, which prompted a partial revision of the attribution of the decoration in one of the volumes to a single artist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Analytical Chemistry in Cultural Heritage)
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Article
Raman Microspectroscopic Imaging of Binder Remnants in Historical Mortars Reveals Processing Conditions
Heritage 2019, 2(2), 1662-1683; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020102 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5742
Abstract
Binder remnants in historical mortars represent a record of the connection between the raw materials that enter the kiln, the process parameters, and the end product of the calcination. Raman microspectroscopy combines high structural sensitivity with micrometre to sub-micrometre spatial resolution and compatibility [...] Read more.
Binder remnants in historical mortars represent a record of the connection between the raw materials that enter the kiln, the process parameters, and the end product of the calcination. Raman microspectroscopy combines high structural sensitivity with micrometre to sub-micrometre spatial resolution and compatibility with conventional thin-sectional samples in an almost unique fashion, making it an interesting complementary extension of the existing methodological arsenal for mortar analysis. Raman spectra are vibrational fingerprints of crystalline and amorphous compounds, and contain marker bands that are specific for minerals and their polymorphic forms. Relative intensities of bands that are related to the same crystalline species change according to crystal orientations, and band shifts can be caused by the incorporation of foreign ions into crystal lattices, as well as stoichiometric changes within solid solution series. Finally, variations in crystallinity affect band widths. These effects are demonstrated based on the analysis of three historical mortar samples: micrometric distribution maps of phases and polymorphs, crystal orientations, and compositional variations of solid solution series of unreacted clinker grains in the Portland cement mortars of two 19th century castings, and the crystallinities of thermal anhydrite clusters in a high-fired medieval gypsum mortar as a measure for the applied burning temperature were successfully acquired. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Analytical Chemistry in Cultural Heritage)
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Article
New Insights into Synthetic Copper Greens: The Search for Specific Signatures by Raman and Infrared Spectroscopy for Their Characterization in Medieval Artworks
Heritage 2019, 2(2), 1614-1629; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020099 - 04 Jun 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2261
Abstract
A systematic investigation of medieval copper green pigments was carried out based on written sources: 21 manuscripts, dating from 50–70 to 1755 AD, were sourced and 77 recipes were selected, translating into 44 experiments. Reconstructions from medieval recipes were prepared and characterized through [...] Read more.
A systematic investigation of medieval copper green pigments was carried out based on written sources: 21 manuscripts, dating from 50–70 to 1755 AD, were sourced and 77 recipes were selected, translating into 44 experiments. Reconstructions from medieval recipes were prepared and characterized through a multianalytical approach to disclose the original pigment formulation that is often described as verdigris. Based on the results obtained, we propose three main groups of copper green pigments, group 1, in which only Cu(CH3COO)2·H2O is formed; group 2, where this acetate is found together with copper oxalates; group 3, in which atacamite is present as the major green component or as a signature compound. The products formed are in perfect agreement with that predicted by the state-of-the-art research on the mechanisms of atmospheric corrosion of copper. This knowledge, together with our experience on craft recipes to prepare medieval paint materials, allowed us to recover a lost medieval recipe to produce a copper green pigment based mainly on atacamite, a basic copper chloride, which has been recently detected, by Raman and infrared spectroscopy, in artworks ranging from Catalonia and the Crown of Aragon panel painting to Islamic manuscripts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Analytical Chemistry in Cultural Heritage)
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Article
Chemistry for Audio Heritage Preservation: A Review of Analytical Techniques for Audio Magnetic Tapes
Heritage 2019, 2(2), 1551-1587; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020097 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2814
Abstract
Vast and important cultural resources are entrusted to magnetic tape around the world, but they are susceptible to degradation, which may lead to severe replay problems. Audio magnetic tapes are complex and multicomponent devices containing organic compounds and metal systems, which can be [...] Read more.
Vast and important cultural resources are entrusted to magnetic tape around the world, but they are susceptible to degradation, which may lead to severe replay problems. Audio magnetic tapes are complex and multicomponent devices containing organic compounds and metal systems, which can be potential catalysts for many degradative reactions in the presence of water, light, or heating. The aim of this review is to collect the literature concerning the analytical determinations and instrumental approaches that can achieve the chemical identification of the components in the tape and the degradation state. Thus, a combination of destructive (such as acetone extraction) and non-destructive techniques (such as ATR FTIR spectroscopy) have been proposed, together with SEM, ESEM, XRD and TGA analyses to assess the chemical and physical characterization of the tape with the purpose to individualize restoration treatments and optimize conditions for preservation. The impact of the studies reviewed in this paper may go beyond audio, being potentially relevant to video, data, instrumentation, and logging tapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Analytical Chemistry in Cultural Heritage)
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Article
The “oro di metà” Gilding in the Fifteenth-Century: A Multi-Analytical Investigation
Heritage 2019, 2(2), 1166-1175; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020076 - 18 Apr 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1866
Abstract
Few and fragmentary is the information regarding the “oro di metà” (halfway gold) gilding due to the low probability of finding it in paintings as well as its short durability because of tarnishing. However, the very rare, excellent state of conservation [...] Read more.
Few and fragmentary is the information regarding the “oro di metà” (halfway gold) gilding due to the low probability of finding it in paintings as well as its short durability because of tarnishing. However, the very rare, excellent state of conservation of the gilding found in the fifteenth-century wood panel painting of the Master of St. Ivo studied in this work along with a multi-analytical approach allowed shedding light on the structure, the composition and the conservation state of this type of gilding. An Ultra-High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope (UHR-SEM) along with Energy Dispersive X-Ray (EDX) analysis and polarised light Optical Microscopy (OM) were employed in order to image and analyse a cross-section of a sample taken from the wood panel painting. Results highlighted a divided structure of the gilding which is constituted by two separated layers of gold and silver with different thickness. This is the first time that scientific evidence on this issue is provided. Moreover, considerations on the tarnishing process of the gilding were made. Finally, complementary vibrational spectroscopic techniques such as micro-Raman and micro-ATR-FTIR were employed in order to identify the molecular composition of the “bole” (gilding preparation layer) and the ground layers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Analytical Chemistry in Cultural Heritage)
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Article
Casting Light on 20th-Century Parisian Artistic Bronze: Insights from Compositional Studies of Sculptures Using Hand-Held X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy
Heritage 2019, 2(1), 732-748; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2010047 - 21 Feb 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1302
Abstract
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Paris was home to scores of bronze foundries making it the primary European center for the production of artistic bronzes, or bronzes d’art. These foundries were competitive, employing different casting methods—either lost-wax or sand casting—as well [...] Read more.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Paris was home to scores of bronze foundries making it the primary European center for the production of artistic bronzes, or bronzes d’art. These foundries were competitive, employing different casting methods—either lost-wax or sand casting—as well as closely guarded alloy and patina recipes. Recent studies have demonstrated that accurate measurements of the metal composition of these casts can provide art historians of early 20th-century bronze sculpture with a richer understanding of an object’s biography, and help answer questions about provenance and authenticity. In this paper, data from 171 20th-century bronzes from Parisian foundries are presented revealing diachronic aspects of foundry production, such as varying compositional ranges for sand casting and lost-wax casting. This new detailed knowledge of alloy composition is most illuminating when the interpretation of the data focuses on casts by a single artist and is embedded within a specific historical context. As a case study, compositional analyses were undertaken on a group of 20th-century posthumous bronze casts of painted, unbaked clay caricature portrait busts by Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808–1879). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Analytical Chemistry in Cultural Heritage)
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