Art and Culture

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Since the first cave-paintings were made thousands of years ago, man's fascination with art has lead to countless works of art ranging to the masterpieces of the European Renaissance to the unique modern art produced during the 20th century.

Synchrotron radiation can be used to for imaging and chemical analysis of the materials used in creation of historical works of art to determine exactly how they were made and also to test their authenticity. Other possible items of interest for analysis range from fossilised bones and teeth to clothing, jewelry and armor, to ancient letters and books.

DESY offers industries interested in analysis of art and items of cultural heritage access to experimental techniques at DESY Photon Science synchrotron facilities applicable to a range of problems including:

  • Visualisation of older layers of paint below a painting

  • Radiography of artefacts and sculptures to determine how they were made

  • Analysis of pigments and dyes used in archeological glasses and ceramics

  • Determination of the age at death in fossil teeth

  • Studying the long term alterations of bone materials

  • Extraction of degraded text written on ancient parchments

  • Characterisation of archeological textile fibres and ancient hair samples

  • Studies of the finishings and degradation of musical instruments