Science of Authentication

Methodology necessary to expertly read and analyze the data

While anyone can take pictures of art, the images tell far less of a story without expert analysis. For the past four decades our Chief Scientist has studied over 4,500 works of art from Old Masters around the globe.  In so doing he has developed an unparalleled amount of experience and has amassed an extensive collection of reference studies, images, physical samples and data. Furthermore, he has refined the skills and methodology, and developed entirely new techniques, used to analyze the data generated from these studies in a repeatable and scientific way.

Scientific removes doubt about the authenticity of a work of art

Unlike the highly subjective process of traditional attribution that is performed by Art Historians, our objective, scientific approach removes doubt about the authenticity of the work of art. We give our customers confidence and that confidence is essential to determining the real value of the artifact.  Our authentication studies focus on:

  1. Identification of pigments and binding media
  2. Characterization of painting technique
  3. Scientific dating

Below are some of the specific scientific techniques we use to provide hard evidence and remove the subjectivity from art authentication:

DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING:

  • Structured light scanning survey
  • 2D and 3D modeling
  • X-radiography
  • IR reflectography
  • UV fluorescence photography
  • B/W infrared photography
  • Pseudo color infrared photography
  • Photomicrography
  • Thermography
  • Endoscopy

ANALYTICAL DIAGNOSTICS:

  • Optical microscopy in reflected light (cross-section)
  • Optical microscopy in UV fluorescence (cross-section)
  • Optical microscopy in transmitted light (thin-section)
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • X-ray fluorescence (SEM EDS)
  • X-ray diffraction
  • FT-IR spectrophotometry
  • Gas-chromatography/Mass spectrometry (GC/MS)
  • Mass spectrometry (MS)
  • Thermoluminescence
  • Radiocarbon analysis (14C)

Image captures performed as part of the authentication process result in multi-spectral image stacks (the example below shows some of the wavelengths used) and detailed reports about an artworks’ history. While we are pushing the limits of science and technology to deliver the most reliable and evidence based art authentication, we are also developing new and innovative ways to bring the stories that these images tell to the public. 

 

For more information please contact us at info@greatmastersart.com