Sunday, November 01, 2009

analysing art

Just one piece out in German this month, but one I really enjoyed a lot -- it's about Raman spectroscopy of ancient pieces of art and archaeological finds. I remember thinking when I wrote this that the guy who published the original paper must have the best job in the world. Imagine you can walk round a major museum and pick a microgram out of the most treasured pieces. You say "I want a piece of the Mona Lisa" and you get it ... And it's not just that he got to play with these invaluable materials, he also found out exciting things that really changed various aspects of what we think we know about our cultural history (this is why this paper got into PNAS, while his previous ones were in Journal of Raman Spectroscopy).

Anyhow, my take on all this is in

Spektrum der Wissenschaft Nov. 2009, page 16

summary and restricted access to pdf file

Madonna mit Schildlauslack
Eine spektroskopische Methode zum Nachweis organischer Farbstoffe in Geweben lässt sich jetzt auch auf mikroskopisch kleine Proben von wertvollen Gemälden und Skulpturen anwenden. Das Verfahren verhalf bereits zu interessanten kulturhistorischen Erkenntnissen.

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