The present paper, which focuses on the identification of red lake pigments, in particular madder, brazilwood, and cochineal, addresses the advantages and drawbacks of using reflectance hyperspectral imaging in the visible and near-infrared ranges as a non-invasive method of discrimination between different red organic pigments in cultural heritage objects. Based on reconstructions of paints used in the period extending from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, prepared with as far as possible historical accuracy, the analyses by means of visible/near-infrared reflectance hyperspectral imaging were carried out with the objective of understanding the most significant differences between these vegetal- and animal-based red lake pigments. The paper discusses the results that were obtained on four original Italian and North European paintings and compared with those from the paint reconstructions, in order to demonstrate how the hyperspectral imaging technique can be usefully and effectively applied to the identification and mapping of red lake pigments in painted surfaces of interest in the conservation field.
- DIFFUSE-REFLECTANCE SPECTROSCOPY
- ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS