Identification of Vivianite in Painted Works of Art and Its Significance for Provenance and Authorship Studies

Authors

  • Z. Čermáková,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Mineral Resources, Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague, Prague 2, Czech Republic
    2. Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, ALMA laboratory, Prague 7, Czech Republic
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  • J. Hradilová,

    1. Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, ALMA laboratory, Prague 7, Czech Republic
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  • J. Jehlička,

    1. Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Mineral Resources, Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague, Prague 2, Czech Republic
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  • K. Osterrothová,

    1. Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Mineral Resources, Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague, Prague 2, Czech Republic
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  • A. Massanek,

    1. Geoscientific Collections, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg, Germany
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  • P. Bezdička,

    1. Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the AS CR, v.v.i., ALMA laboratory, Řež, Czech Republic
    2. Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, ALMA laboratory, Prague 7, Czech Republic
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  • D. Hradil

    1. Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the AS CR, v.v.i., ALMA laboratory, Řež, Czech Republic
    2. Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, ALMA laboratory, Prague 7, Czech Republic
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Abstract

Vivianite (Fe3(PO4)2·8H2O) is a rare blue historical pigment, which can be profitably used in authorship ascription or copy identification. However, its tendency to degrade complicates its proper identification in paint layers. Reference vivianite mineralogical samples were analysed in order to compare and to test the limits of structural analyses on possibly degraded vivianite samples (X-ray diffraction and vibrational spectroscopies). The same methods, in their μ-configuration, were tested on micro-samples of the paintings and their limits evaluated. A sedimentary origin of the pigment has been suggested. Vivianite was detected in various works by Jean George de Hamilton (1672–1737) and in a Late Gothic Transylvanian altarpiece.

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