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Proceedings Paper

Use of visible and infrared reflectance and luminescence imaging spectroscopy to study illuminated manuscripts: pigment identification and visualization of underdrawings
Author(s): Paola Ricciardi; John K. Delaney; Lisha Glinsman; Mathieu Thoury; Michelle Facini; E. René de la Rie
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Paper Abstract

Site specific, in situ techniques such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Raman spectroscopy are commonly used to identify pigments on illuminated manuscripts. With both techniques, spectra are usually acquired on visually identified sites thought to be representative of the pigments and mixtures used for the illumination. Such visual inspection may not always ensure an adequate representation of the pigment diversity. Here we report on the application of multispectral (MSI) visible/infrared reflectance and luminescence imaging spectroscopy, along with fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) to help determine and map the primary pigments in a late 14th century miniature on vellum, attributed to Niccolo da Bologna and representing the birth of John the Baptist. XRF analyses of visually selected sites found elements consistent with azurite, ultramarine, vermillion, lead white, "mosaic gold" and yellow earth pigments. Visible/infrared FORS analyses confirmed these assignments and showed evidence for the use of organic dyes. The spectral analysis of the MSI-reflectance images gave distribution maps for these pigments (i.e., regions of azurite, ultramarine, vermillion) along with some indication of pigment layering not identified visually. The luminescence image gave a probable map of the organic dye(s). Images acquired in the near- and shortwave-infrared (NIR and SWIR, 750 to 2400 nm) revealed preparatory sketches and illumination techniques. These results show, like those of a prior study carried out on another 14th century Italian miniature, that the combination of low light multi-spectral imaging spectroscopy with FORS provides improved in situ mapping and identification of pigments on illuminated manuscripts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7391, O3A: Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology II, 739106 (1 July 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.827415
Show Author Affiliations
Paola Ricciardi, National Gallery of Art (United States)
John K. Delaney, National Gallery of Art (United States)
Lisha Glinsman, National Gallery of Art (United States)
Mathieu Thoury, National Gallery of Art (United States)
Michelle Facini, National Gallery of Art (United States)
E. René de la Rie, National Gallery of Art (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7391:
O3A: Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology II
Luca Pezzati; Renzo Salimbeni, Editor(s)

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