Eye disease imaging method used to spot forgeries in paintings

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Washington, Feb 4 (ANI): Polish scientists have used optical coherence tomography (OCT), an imaging method for eye disease, to find hidden details in oil paintings.

Piotr Targowski found that easel paintings prepared by traditional methods consist of multiple layers. The artist, for instance, first applies a glue sizing over the canvas to ensure proper adhesion of later layers. Those layers may include an outline of the painting, the painting itself, layers of semitransparent glazes, and finally transparent varnish.

Art conservators and other experts use a range of technologies to see below the surface and detect changes, including forged signatures and other alterations in a painting. But some of these approaches may damage artistic treasures or not be sensitive enough to detect finer details.

The scientists describe how OCT, a technique used to produce three-dimensional images of the layers of the eye's retina, overcomes these difficulties.

They used OCT to examine two oil paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Use of Oct on "Saint Leonard of Porto Maurizio," revealed evidence that the inscription "St. Leonard" was added nearly fifty years after completion of the painting.

In the other, "Portrait of an unknown woman," OCT discovered evidence of the possible of forgery of the artist's signature.

The study has appeared in ACS' Accounts of Chemical Research, a monthly journal. (ANI)

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