Nanoscale Investigation of the Degradation Mechanism of a Historical Chrome Yellow Paint by Quantitative Electron Energy Loss spectroscopy Mapping of Chromium Species


  • The Qu-Ant-EM microscope was funded by the Hercules foundation of the Flemish Government. Funding from the European Research Council under the 7th Framework Program (FP7), ERC grant No. 246791—COUNTATOMS and ERC Starting Grant No. 278510 VORTEX is acknowledged. This work was partially funded by the European Union Council under the 7th Framework Program (FP7) grant No. NMP3-LA-2010-246102 IFOX and a GOA project “XANES meets ELNES” of the University of Antwerp. We acknowledge financial support from the European Union under the Seventh Framework Program under a contract for an Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (Reference No. 312483-ESTEEM2), from the SDD programme (S2-ART project) of the Belgian Federal Government, and from the ESRF (experiments EC-504 and EC-799 at beamline ID21). We are also indebted to Luuk van der Loeff for lending us the sample material..


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Getting the picture: The investigation of 100 year old chrome yellow paint by transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy has led to the identification of four types of core–shell particles. This nanoscale investigation has allowed a mechanism to be proposed for the darkening of some bright yellow colors in Van Gogh's paintings (e.g. in Falling leaves (Les Alyscamps), 1888).