New imaging system developed for frescos: thermal quasi-reflectography

“The Resurrection” from

A team of Italian researchers recently developed a new imaging tool that can capture features that would otherwise be undetectable. Thermal quasi-reflectography creates images using reflected light from the mid-infrared part of the spectrum.

The new imaging system was successfully tested on two famous works of art: the Zavattari frescos in the Chapel of Theodelinda and “The Resurrection” by Piero della Francesca. The tests revealed details missed by earlier tests and easily identified old restorations where missed gold decorations were simply repainted. In “The Resurrection,” TQR found an area around a soldier’s sword that was painted using two different fresco techniques that previously went unnoticed.

Rather than detect heat like traditional thermography techniques, TQR tries to minimize heat, shining a faint mid-infrared light source onto the surface of the painting. It then records the light that’s reflected back to the camera. It’s considered a “powerful yet safe tool for artwork diagnostics,” that better differentiates between materials in a painted surface.

Whatever we can do to keep these works around– art must outlive time:)

Read the rest of the original story on Market Watch here.

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