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Photochemistry of Artists’ Dyes and Pigments: Towards Better Understanding and Prevention of Colour Change in Works of Art

posted Jun 12, 2018, 7:51 AM by ­김형민‎(응용화학과)‎

The absorption of light gives a pigment its colour and its reason for being, but it also creates excited states, that is, new molecules with an energy excess that can be dissipated through degradation pathways. Photodegradation processes provoke long‐term, cumulative and irreversible colour changes (fading, darkening, blanching) of which the prediction and prevention are challenging tasks. Of all the environmental risks that affect heritage materials, light exposure is the only one that cannot be controlled without any impact on the optimal display of the exhibit. Light‐induced alterations are not only associated with the pigment itself but also with its interactions with support/binder and, in turn, are further complicated by the nature of the environmental conditions. In this Minireview we investigate how chemistry, encompassing multi‐scale analytical investigations of works of art, computational modelling and physical and chemical studies contributes to improve our prediction of artwork appearance before degradation and to establish effective preventive conservation strategies.