Analytical and material research is fundamental to understanding an artwork’s condition and technique. Redivivus uses specialized equipment to provide non-destructive and sample-based methods of material analysis. Research paired with Technical Imaging is essential for supporting scholarly collecting, connoisseurship, and attribution of paintings. For further research, we cooperate with renowned experts within our network, who work for specialized institutions such as the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD), and The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (RCE).
Outlined below are some of the techniques we perform:
Hirox Digital Microscope
Our Hirox microscope allows us to perform intricate 3D studies of paint surfaces. Magnification from 35x to 5000x allows us to explore details down to visualizing and distinguishing pigment particles. Hirox has the capacity to take high resolution photographs and videos, creating detailed documentation of materials, techniques, and conditions.
Paint impasto and textures can be viewed up close using a rotating head. The three dimensional turning points also enable us to record depth measurements and topographical maps of the surface.
© JAAP Enterprise and Studio Redivivus
Sampling and Stratigraphic Analysis
In this technique a microscopic sample is taken from the edge of the painting or an area of paint loss and mounted in a transparent resin. Once hardened, the resin block is ground and polished on one side until the profile of its constituent layers is exposed. This allows us to examine the combination of ground, paint, and surface layers as they were applied by the artist. The sample can be observed in a microscope using reflected and ultraviolet light to identify the pigments and medium used in each layer.
This sample shows seven layers of red paint applied sequentially by the artist.
Art Historical Research
Art Historical studies and comparisons can help to establish the origins of a work or assist in dating it. This can prove very fruitful especially in combination with technical analysis. We inform our work by carrying out our own research at the studio. We also frequently work with renowned art historians and the RKD and carry out further inquiries.
Paintings by Salvador Dali at a photo shoot in Cecil Beaton’s studio in London in 1936.
Couple aux Têtes Pleines de Nuages by Salvador Dalí.
Archive photograph of Francis Picabia's studio.