Fine Artists everywhere will be thrilled to hear there’s a brand new exhibition on colour – and it’s not just any exhibition, it covers the history of pigments and the origins of colours. Of course, paint is a pretty technical area, as paintings are actually complex three-dimensional structures, recording the development of the artist’s work. Optical microscopy and ultraviolet illumination are the preferred methods of analysis: paint is chipped from damaged regions, sliced to 400 microns, embedded in resin and then sectioned with a microtome. To work out which pigments are used, the sample is then analysed with a scanning electron microscope. After all this and more, scientists are able to work out how major artists worked and reworked their paintings – making the topic fascinating reading for Fine Artists, History of Art students and even artistically-minded Physicists and Chemists.
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