Experimental Part

For these analyses, we used a portable system of X-ray fluorescence, which is constituted of an Amptek® X-ray tube, with a silver filament (voltage 30 kV and a 5 mA current), and a Si-Drift Amptek® detector. During the measurements the XRF system is positioned very close to the work without touching it, nor causing any damage.

Analyses and Results

The pigments used in the paints were characterized in relation to their main elements, identifyed in each color, in each painting.

p1.jpg p4.jpg p3.jpg p2.jpg p6.jpg p5.jpg p7.jpg p9.jpg p8.jpg p10.jpg p11.jpg p12.jpg p14.jpg p13.jpg


Mário Sironi
Oil on paper on canvas
90,2 cm x 62,7cm



Parts analysed by XRF:
click on the desired part of the image to see the resulting graphic.

Abstract of the analysed parts:

Spectra Measurement Position - detail
121002ac P1 - red pigment of the chest
121002ad P2 - brown pigment close to the chest
121002ae P3 - beige pigment on the arm
121002af P4 - red pigment of the neck
121002ag P5 - black pigment close to the neck
121002ah P6 - black pigment 
121002ai P7 - white pigment 
121002aj P8 - green pigment 
121002ak P9 - green+white+ black pigment
121002al P10 - blue pigment close to the elbow  
121002am P11 - blue pigment close to the thigh
121002an P12 - red pigment of the lower part of the leg 
121002ao P13 - restoration black pigment on lower corner  
121002ap P14 - white pigment without lacquer  

Results of X-ray Fluorescence Analyses done in the Paintings

Scientific analyses of art objects and cultural heritage realized through physical and chemical methods are of great interest to restorers, conservators, archaelogists, historians, etc. They supply information on the process of making, used pigments, state of conservation and other about such objects. This information helps to evaluate the choice of treatment in the process of conservation and restoration, and in some cases, it provides data so as to identify the historical period and forgeries.

Non-destructive analyses, for which there is no need of the extraction of a sample, are often employed in the study of art objects and cultural heritage for their priceless value.

In the case of easel paintings, scientific analyses allow to determine the chemical compounds of the elements present in the various pigments, and to identify retouches and interventions undertaken after the work was finished.

Here, we present the results obtained by the X-ray fluorescence analysis of the work " Figure" by painter Mario Sironi.