Advanced 3D imaging technology is now being used to identify deterioration in fine paintings.
As paintings age and the fats in the oil paint combine with alkaline contained in the pigments, a soap layer can develop. This layer is made of “blisters” in the past that are either translucent or white. When multiplies, this layer can make the painting appear darker.
This type of ageing was identified by experts in Art Conservation in Sante Fe, New Mexico when studying paintings by the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe.
The O’Keeffe Museum has now been awarded a grant to develop the imaging technology to assess the growth of the paint “blisters” and then build a database that will allow other conservationists to upload and analyze images of their paintings to assess their condition.