“The great beauty” for the TECHNART 2015 Conference.

 Researchers from more than 50 nations met in Catania debating on advanced diagnostics for the works of art.


Different approaches to diagnostics and conservation of artworks, and new analytical methodologies were presented during a 3 day high level scientific international conference taking place in Sicily. These new devices mainly address the non-invasive study of original, restoration and degradation materials, targeting higher spatial resolution and the possibility to discriminate in depth. Many efforts are in fact made to know the stratigraphic sequence of the materials, in a non-invasive fashion.
New portable equipment is generally developed by research groups and not yet widely available, like Terahertz imaging, new spectrometers with high spatial resolution and the possibility to see at different depths in the artwork,  and integrated spectrometers (combining XRF-Raman or XRF-XRD ;. .). It became clear that, to date, the best possible approach is to integrate the available techniques, and also to assess their relative performance.
The case of a “Goya”, mistakenly attributed by another laboratory because of a misidentification of the materials, gave us the opportunity, in this context, to talk about the limits and possibilities of the various techniques. The use of the most reliable methods is in fact a must: wrong assessment of the artist’s palette, as in the case presented, can misplace the date of execution of centuries, greatly influencing its economic value ().
Faced with the amount of information that the most advanced techniques can provide nowadays, one more reflection shared between researchers, is certainly related to the need to compare data collected by the various laboratories in order to collect large-scale scientific evidence and better understand the results obtained for each specific case.
It is in line with this thinking the database of 100 paintings from the Pinacoteca di Siena “Under the gold” (http://www.art-test.com/it/database-it/), which was the topic of other contribution byArt-Test in collaboration with S.T.Art Test. An important tool for the study of evolution in Sienese painting (from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century) and for dating and authentication of works of art.
The international conference TECHNART 2015, was organized by the INFN-LNS departments, IBAM-CNR and the University of Catania (Department of Chemistry and Department of Physics and Astronomy) in collaboration with the group of scientific research of ‘ICOM-CC and the Italian Association of Archaeometry (AIAr).