Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) has been used to evaluate, document and analyze art objects (Kubik, 2007). Numerous characteristics can be determined from the HSI measurements, such as age, authenticity, and original color values for restoration purposes.
HSI measurements can facilitate documentation of museum inventory by providing documentation of true CIE color coordinates with high spatial resolution in order to track ultraviolet and oxidative degradation. Color standards are used to assure that the proper coordinates are established using the same geometry and illumination levels.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was analyzed in recent years using hyperspectral imaging to determine fading and other pigment changes. The HSI data was used to calculate the original color image, as it would have appeared at the time the painting was created. It also revealed other painting details modified by da Vinci and subsequent restorations (Bryner, 2007). The spectra of Leonardo’s famous Madonna of the Yarnwinder is accessible online. (Laboratorio Spettroscopia Immagini, 2005)
Identification of art forgery is another important hyperspectral imaging application. HSI can go beyond evaluation of the style, pattern and other telltale signs of the artist, to detect chemicals, paints and substrates that were used. In some cases the materials readily available today are fundamentally different from those used by the old masters and can readily lead to detection of a newer than stated work.
Near infrared light penetrates deeper into the surface than visible light. In some cases the near-infrared scan of artwork can reveal a prior version beneath the outer image due to modifications by the artist or others.
Inks, pigments and watermarks of historic documents can be evaluated using chemometric methods, the legibility of documents enhanced, damages, such as gall ink corrosion or presence and the type of mold established. (Padoan, 2008)
Hyperspectral imaging systems (art scanners) are available for scanning artwork. These Art Scanners include everything needed to collect the hyperspectral data, including the camera, spectrograph, lens(es), mounting, and scanning mechanism. For more information about these Art Scanners or to discuss a custom solution for your art analysis needs, please contact Middleton Spectral Vision.
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