Raman microscopy of Greek icons: identification of unusual pigments.

Spectrochimica acta. Part A, Molecular and biomolecular spectroscopy

PubMedID: 12909149

Burgio L, Clark RJ, Theodoraki K. Raman microscopy of Greek icons: identification of unusual pigments. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc. 2003;59(10):2371-89.
Five Greek icons, made between the 15th and 18th centuries and now belonging to the Victoria and Albert Museum collections, were analysed by energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF), optical microscopy and Raman microscopy in order to determine the stratigraphy of the artworks and the identity of the pigments used. Together with common pigments, such as red lake, vermilion, red lead, red iron oxide, orpiment, yellow ochre, lead white, chalk, gypsum, anhydrite, Prussian blue, indigo and a copper-containing green, a few unusual materials were identified, specifically pararealgar (a yellow arsenic sulphide, As4S4), its precursor the chi-phase, and lead tin yellow type II (PbSn(1-x)SixO3). Attention is drawn to the complementarity of the techniques used for the pigment identifications.