Many of the techniques used for the analysis of a painting can be employed to characterize the materials used in a print or drawing. Typically, there are fewer materials to examine for a print so the analysis would concentrate on different colored inks, the paper support material, and how the print was produced. this similar way drawings may have a very limited palette which reduces the amount of information we may be able to determine about the piece.


As in the analysis of the painting, optical microscopy is important tool for sampling of materials as well as the characterization of the paper support including the type of materials used to produce the paper, the type of manufacturing process used to make the paper,and materials used to modify the paper.  In some situations presents a watermark the paper can provide valuable information about the source of the paper.


Two important techniques for the characterization of inks is Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, or FT-IR, provides information regarding the ink resin as well as potential organic and inorganic components of the ink. Raman spectroscopy utilized for the identification of pigments in black inks.

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If you would like further information on the scientific analysis of artwork and how it might be able to help you, please use the form below to send us a message. The procedure for having artwork analyzed is to first submit background information about the artwork along with a photograph(s) and what you are trying to determine about the artwork.  We will prepare a proposal for you, outlining the scope of the analysis and an estimate of the costs involved.  All communications with the Center for Art Materials Analysis are considered confidential.

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