FTIR Analysis of Fresco Painting and Stone Sculpture Pigment Samples: The creation of pigment sample data base at the Arts Academy of Split laboratory

Author: Josipa Marić
Mentors: Miona Miliša, PhD, Research Fellow & Lecturer; Ivica Ljubenkov, PhD, Assistant Professor

Arts Academy, Split (Croatia)
Study programme: Integrated undergraduate and graduate course of study in conservation-restoration
Specialization: Archaeological Heritage (5th year of study)


MARIC JosipaThe presentation reports on the results of the analyses of pigment samples from fresco paintings and stone sculptures and the creation of a data-base of pigments in the Academy's scientific laboratory. It points out the importance of collaboration with professionals from other disciplines, especially chemistry. Understanding chemical composition and degradation process in heritage objects is crucial for their preservation for future generations. Identification of different pigments is important in deciding which conservation materials to use, foreseeing their reaction with the binding medium, the effects of the environment on the degradation processes and the effects of the conservation treatment itself. The analysis of the pigments will offer better insight into the composition and age of polychrome layers, while the future data base will make it possible to find the connection with other polychrome objects and find the place of origin. The pigment samples were examined by handheld digital microscope and analysed by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry (FTIR), a technique already used for diagnostic purposes in conservation of archaeological heritage. The reliability of these measurements is very high even with extremely small sample sizes. Sample preparation is simple and the results of the analysis are quickly available.

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Short biography

JOSIPA MARIĆ was born at Split, in 1992. After having completed School of Design, Graphic Art and Sustainable Building in 2011, she enrolled into the Conservation-Restoration Department of the Arts Academy of Split. She has worked on many objects provided by the Arts Academy. In her free time, she has been engaged in safeguarding activities of Zvonimir Cultural Centre in Solin (including caretaking duties on Solin amphitheatre and ParaćHouse). She is in her fifth-year of study, specializing in conservation and restoration of archaeological heritage. Her masters thesis subject is FTIR analysis of fresco painting and stone sculpture pigments.