Photochemistry of Artists’ Dyes and Pigments: Towards Better Understanding and Prevention of Colour Change in Works of Art

Costanza Miliani, Letizia Monico, Maria J. Melo, Simona Fantacci, Eva M. Angelin, Aldo Romani, Koen Janssens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The absorption of light gives a pigment its colour and its reason for being, but it also creates excited states, that is, new molecules with an energy excess that can be dissipated through degradation pathways. Photodegradation processes provoke long-term, cumulative and irreversible colour changes (fading, darkening, blanching) of which the prediction and prevention are challenging tasks. Of all the environmental risks that affect heritage materials, light exposure is the only one that cannot be controlled without any impact on the optimal display of the exhibit. Light-induced alterations are not only associated with the pigment itself but also with its interactions with support/binder and, in turn, are further complicated by the nature of the environmental conditions. In this Minireview we investigate how chemistry, encompassing multi-scale analytical investigations of works of art, computational modelling and physical and chemical studies contributes to improve our prediction of artwork appearance before degradation and to establish effective preventive conservation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7324-7334
Number of pages11
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Volume57
Issue number25(SI)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • art conservation
  • dyes and pigments
  • photochemistry
  • photodegradation
  • redox chemistry

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