Abstract

A system for advanced fluorescence investigation of works of art has been assembled and integrated in a characterization procedure that allows one to localize and identify organic compounds that are present in artworks. At the beginning of the investigation, fluorescence lifetime imaging and spectroscopy address a selective microsampling of the artwork. Then analytical measurements of microsamples identify the chemical composition of the materials under investigation. Finally, on the basis of fluorescence lifetime and amplitude maps, analytical data are extended to the whole artwork. In such a way, information on the spatial distribution of organic materials can be inferred. These concepts have been successfully applied in an extensive campaign for analysis of Renaissance fresco paintings in Castiglione Olona, Italy. Residue of various types of glue and stucco left from a restoration carried out in the early 1970s was localized and classified. Insight into the technique used by the painter to make gilded reliefs was also obtained.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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