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Project for the research and analysis of paintings with the aid of neutron-induced autoradiography

Thanks to a more than two-decade-long collaboration with the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, the Gemäldegalerie is the only museum in the world able to make consistent and systematic use of neutron-activation autoradiography (NIAR) and gamma-ray spectroscopy in the examination of paintings.

Neutron-induced autoradiography is an exceptionally versatile and successful method to examine paintings in a nondestructive manner. It provides insight into the pigments used, the brushwork, the state of preservation of the various layers of paint, and the many stages that went into creating the work. In combination with other technical examination methods, NIAR presents us with a special opportunity to take a detailed look at a painter’s creative process. The long-term project between our two institutions aims to scientifically reassess paintings.

Partners: Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
Contact person: Claudia Laurenze Landsberg, conservator, Gemäldegalerie; Christoph Schmidt, photographer, Gemäldegalerie