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Spectral library of artist paint materials

If you are a professional in the area of ​​Cultural Heritage and know the importance of identifying materials in works of art, you have at your disposal a new digital tool to support your investigation with non- or minimally invasive spectroscopic techniques!

The INFRA-ART database was developed as an integrated open access spectral library of artist painting materials. The database is an ongoing compilation of spectra which currently contains primary ATR-FTIR and XRF spectra, and a preliminary dataset of Raman spectra, from various material groups (pigment components, artistic color inks, etc.). The database is an open access resource, freely accessible online, which was developed with the aim of supporting other specialists in the field of heritage sciences working with XRF, infrared (ATR-FTIR) or Raman spectroscopy techniques.

Source: XRF Boot Camp for Conservators (2013–2020) -

Easily accessible characterization techniques, such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) or Raman spectroscopy, are currently the most used analytical tools in heritage and conservation science. Identifying materials in works of art is a fundamental step in understanding the history of an object or an artist's technique. Comprehensive characterization and diagnosis of the various constituent materials of artworks can provide valuable information about the artist's working methods, as well as significant evidence of dating, attribution of provenance, or detection of forgery. The development of databases with high quality information about the pure substances used as artists' materials is extremely important for the identification and characterization of unknown samples. However, there are relatively few open access spectrum libraries dedicated solely to the field of cultural heritage. To meet this need, within the framework of the INFRA-ART postdoctoral project, an open access spectral library exclusively dedicated to artists' materials and cultural heritage was developed.

Up to this moment most of the reference samples included are pure materials, but the database covers some mixtures of pigments and some binder-pigment mixtures as well. It is our intention to expand the number of available reference samples and to enrich the database with more types of mixtures (e.g. binder-pigment, pigment-pigment, pigment-dye) in the nearby future.

The INFRA-ART database is state-of-the-art spectral library that provides not only high-quality spectral data but also detailed information for each investigated reference material. The database metadata descriptors for the reference samples are structured as follows: sample ID (a unique identifier), record name, sample type, sample source, origin, description, alternative names, chemical information, history of use, and material class.

Website spectrum analysis sheet template

The open access Spectral Library, designed by CERTO - INOE 2000, offered more than 680 reference materials of diverse and specific uses: from prehistory to the 20th century.

The INFRA-ART spectral database was developed as part of the INFRA-ART post-doctoral project by researcher Ioana Maria Cortea. Database design and web development were performed by Alecsandru Chiroșca and Laurențiu-Marian Angheluță.

More information about the INFRA-ART spectral database:

And if you are interested in this topic, be sure to check out our course on Instrumental analysis of paintings in cultural heritage, with Prof. doctor Thiago Guimaraes. In this course you will learn:

  1. Fundamentals of techniques such as Infrared Spectroscopy, Raman, Liquid and Gas Chromatography, X-Ray Fluorescence and Scanning Electron Microscopy.

  2. You will learn about when to choose each of these techniques to analyze different materials, identifying their advantages and disadvantages.

  3. You will learn about real examples of the application of these techniques and will be trained to take full advantage of them when you have the opportunity to work with these analyses.

You can learn a little more about Prof. doctor Thiago Guimarães in our welcome videos to these courses!

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