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Posted by / 02-Oct-2019 14:01

Applying the art of war to dating

No examples of barium sulfate–coprecipitated pigments were found on the paintings, but both anatase and rutile/barium sulfate coprecipitates may be present on an Edward Kienholz sculpture, (1959).Occurrences of the coprecipitated and non-coprecipitated forms correspond well with generally accepted manufacturing dates of the different pigment types, suggesting that identification of the form of titanium white can provide valuable dating information.Calcium sulfate–coprecipitated titanium white paints from four paintings dating from 1950 to 1963 contain much higher levels of REEs than Grumbacher Titanium White paint made from non-coprecipitated anatase (Fig. La, Ce, and Nd are especially abundant in the coprecipitated pigments (from 3 to 6 μg/g), whereas in non-coprecipitated anatase, Ce is present at less than 1 μg/g and La or Nd are present at less than 0.01 μg/g.Of the three abundant REEs, only Nd could plausibly give rise to the observed luminescence.

Although titanium dioxide does occur in mineral form and therefore has been found in archaeological and historic contexts (), the detection of titanium white is most often a telltale sign of modern overpainting (or outright forgery) of older artworks.If so, the luminescence would be indicative not only of coprecipitated pigment but also of the composition and source of the ilmenite.To test for REE variations across ilmenite sources, we analyzed samples of ore from the Mc Intyre mine (Tahawus, Essex Co. ON, Canada), Egersund (Norway), and the Middle Atlas Mountains (Morocco) by ICP-MS.We propose that trace neodymium present in some ilmenite (Fe Ti O) ores can be trapped in the alkaline earth sulfate during coprecipitation, generating a luminescent marker characteristic of the ore and process.We show that the luminescence is linked to a specific ilmenite source used in historic TITANOX pigments, is not present in pigments produced by more advanced chemistries, and provides dating information.

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