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The 17th c. Flemish painting on panel, The Armorer's Shop, has long been attributed to David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690). The painting depicts an opulent pile of parade armor at the bottom left foreground, a seated armorer at the bottom right foreground, and a forge surrounded by workers in the middle ground. The Teniers attribution is derived from his signature at the bottom right as well as figural groups and other visual elements that are commonly associated with him and executed in his style. During dendrochronological examination of the painting, a portion of the oak plank comprising the overall structure was found to have been carved out so that a smaller plank (containing the parade armor) could be inserted into the resulting depression. This unusual construction, combined with the identification of several paintings by Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678) depicting the same parade armor, raised questions about the attribution and chronology of construction of the painting. Art historical research suggests that the smaller plank with the armor was painted by Brueghel and that the remainder of the panel with the workers and forge was painted by his brother-in-law Teniers. While Brueghel writes of collaborating with Teniers in his journal, this appears to be the only identified collaboration of the two artists. Conventional microanalysis methods did not resolve the painting's construction chronology. However, confocal x-ray fluorescence microscopy (CXRF) revealed the composition and location of buried paint layers at the panel interfaces by combining depth scans at a number of adjacent lateral positions to produce virtual cross-sections over 20 mm in length. The relationship of the paint layers at the panel interfaces provided evidence for the armor panel having been painted separately and prior to the rest of the composition. This data, along with dendrochronological and IRR data, provided a chronology of construction for the painting that provided additional evidence for a Brueghel attribution. An overview of the CXRF technique will be provided along with a discussion of how CXRF data relates to data collected using SEM-EDS, FTIR, Raman, conventional XRF, x-radiography, IRR, and dendrochronology.
A confocal x-ray fluorescence microscope was built at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) to determine the composition of buried paint layers that range from 10–80 μm thick in paintings. The microscope consists of a borosilicate monocapillary optic to focus the incident beam and a borosilicate polycapillary lens to collect the fluorescent x-rays. The overlap of the two focal regions is several tens of microns in extent, and defines the active, or confocal, volume of the microscope. The capabilities of the technique were tested using acrylic paint films with distinct layers brushed onto glass slides and a twentieth century oil painting on canvas. The position and thickness of individual layers were extracted from their fluorescence profiles by fitting to a simple, semi-empirical model.
The compositions of well-dated archaeological glasses from the Northern Adriatic have been determined to learn more about the origins of the Renaissance Venetian glassmaking industry. Electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) was used to characterize thirty-seven late antiquity (5th – 7th centuries) glass finds from Torcello, an island located five miles to the northwest of the Rialtine islands that make up modern Venice. The late antiquity glass data was used in conjunction with two groups of medieval glass data, a predominately 6th –10th centuries Torcello group analyzed by Brill and an 8th-14th centuries Venetian lagoon group analyzed by Verità to gain insight into the technological evolution of glassmaking in the lagoon. The three data sets were then examined within the context of archaeological evidence for a medieval glass furnace complex at Torcello. Our data on the late antiquity glasses reveals that a decline in Roman-style glassmaking technology during this period may have contributed to Venice's late medieval and Renaissance glassmaking innovations.
The faience of the New Kingdom period is frequently decorated with an expanded palette of red, black, and yellow. This polychrome decoration was often accomplished by inlaying one color of paste into another. The aesthetic success of these inlay techniques reveals a fundamental understanding of the materials' characteristics before, during, and after firing, and knowledge of how to manipulate these characteristics. The goal of this research is to more fully understand ancient Egyptian faience inlay techniques by characterizing the properties of a set of standard reproductions. As the most aesthetically successful reproductions were obtained using pre-fired components, a series of experiments was performed to quantify changes in glaze color, glaze gloss, and depth of glaze penetration upon refiring. Data was gathered from replicated samples and cross-sections using SEM, UV-VIS spectrophotometry, colorimetry, and optical microscopy. Visual comparisons were made between cross-sections of replicated inlays and examples of broken ancient Egyptian faience inlays.
Studying the raw materials used by ancient glassmakers provides information about ancient glassmaking practices, the relationship between glassmaking and other craft technologies (silicate-based or non-silicate-based), and the trading patterns of specific cultures. Colored opaque glasses are of particular interest because they were among the first mass-produced and mass-distributed glasses.
Roman colored opaque vessel glasses and mosaic tesserae were examined using energy dispersive X-ray analysis, wavelength dispersive X-ray analysis, and scanning electron microscopy in order to identify the origins of the antimony-based glass opacifying agents used in the Roman period. Bindheimite and stibnite were considered as mineralogical sources of antimony, and antimonial litharge was investigated as a metallurgical source of antimony. The refining of antimonial silver ores was discussed as a source for antimonial litharge in the Roman period. The morphologies of the antimonate crystallites, their distributions, and the observed correlations of lead to antimony in the glasses indicated that roasted stibnite was the antimony source for the white and blue opaque glasses and antimonial litharge was the antimony source for the yellow and green opaque glasses. Opaque yellow Roman glasses were found to contain a mixture of clastic, subhedral, and euhedral lead pyroantimonate (Pb2Sb2O7) particles. The euhedral crystallites are a rhombohedral modification of Pb2Sb2O7 that is formed above 900 °C.
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