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Electrochemical assessment of pigments-binding medium interactions in oil paint deterioration: a case study on indigo and Prussian blue

Doménech-Carbó, A.Doménech-Carbó, M.T.Osete-Cortina, L.Donnici, M.Guasch-Ferré, N.Gasol-Fargas, R.M.Iglesias-Campos, M.Á

Heritage Science, Volume 8, Issue 1, 1 December 2020, Article number 71


Abstract: The degradation of laboratory oil paint film specimens containing indigo and Prussian blue pigments and pictorial samples from the Sant Francesc de Paula painting exhibited in the Tomàs Balvey Arxiu Museum (Cardedeu (Catalonia), Spain) has been studied by voltammetry of immobilized particles. This technique, combined with light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray analysis, nanoindentation-atomic force microscopy, attenuated total reflectance-Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy techniques permits the proposal of a dual scheme for the degradation of the pigments when naturally aged and submitted to accelerated UVA aging. Under conditions of moderate temperature, humidity and natural illumination, and low gradients of these parameters, Prussian blue acts as a radical scavenger moderating the production of reactive oxygen species produced in the oil binding medium by the action of ultraviolet radiation, resulting in the formation, in the solid state, of the solid-solution, {KFeIII[FeII(CN)6]}x{FeIII[FeIII(CN)6]}1–x, known as Berlin green, which then promotes the formation of indigo adducts with radicals. In several localized areas of the Sant Francesc de Paula paint showing strong degradation, Prussian blue acts as a promoter of the indigo oxidation to isatin, thus resulting in a considerable chromatic shift.[Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2020, The Author(s)..

DOI: 10.1186/s40494-020-00415-x

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