X-rays Reveal Mystery Van Gogh Painting Color Degradation

HAMBURG - Scientists have identified one of the areas in the painting made by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890). Using X-rays recently, scientists discovered that the flower-painted it may degrade or change color over time.

Reported Eurekalert, Saturday (09/15/2012), the scientists observed how Van Gogh painted floral able to change the color. They say that a protective varnish or oil paint used after the death of the artist, able to produce some bright yellow flowers turn into orange-gray.

The origin of these changes is the color degradation process, which until now was unknown at the interfacial region, between paint and varnish. That's why scientists do research and study at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility ESRF in Grenoble (France) and the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY in Hamburg (Germany).

Research findings will be published in Analytical Chemisty. The research team led by Koen Janssens of Antwerp and involves scientists from TU Delft (Netherlands), French CNRS, Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo (The Netherlands), the ESRF and DESY.

Vincent Van Gogh creating a painting with the theme of flowers in a vase in 1887 in Paris and at the beginning of the 20th century, painting artificial stored in Kröller-Müller Museum. The maestro did not use varnish on the job, but painting is then secured and use protection varnish.

Yellow cadmium used Van Gogh which is a new pigment, in which this material was recently found in the paintings of scientists who are not varnished. This material is undergoing a process of oxidation with air (cadmium sulfate CdSO4) which makes pigments lose color and make mengkilau.

"We identified this process a few years ago and make observations. We observed that there is a transparent layer of oxidation, in which the pigments in the painting is covered with a dark crust, which makes us so keen to study it," said Janssens.