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Table 1 Summary of the composition of the ground preparation, pigments, fillers, and extenders identified in the paint layers, as well as surface alterations and degradation processes detected in the three Van Gogh paintings analyzed in this study. A list of samples removed is also provided along with an indication of the micro-invasive techniques used to examine them. Non-invasive investigations by means of IR and UV photography, X-radiography, point XRF, and MA-XRF were performed on all three works

From: Altered identity: fleeting colors and obscured surfaces in Van Gogh’s Landscapes in Paris, Arles, and Saint-Rémy

Title and date Samples Micro-invasive techniques Ground preparation Pigments, fillers, and extenders in paint layers Surface alterations and degradation processes
Roadway with Underpass (1887) VG1) Cross section of ground and paint layers SEM/EDS Two-layer ground: bottom layer (10–20 μm) is mostly calcium sulfate, with traces of silicates, lead white, P, Fe, and Zn; upper layer (10–40 μm) is mostly lead white as a mixture of cerussite and hydrocerussite, with traces of Mg, Al, P, Ca, Fe, and Zn Lead white, zinc white, vermilion, red lakes, iron-containing earths, chromium-containing pigments including chrome yellow and viridian, emerald green, cobalt blue, barium sulfate, calcium-containing compounds Non-original, discolored varnish (oil, Pinaceae and Pistacia resins); biodeterioration (diacetoxyscirpenol); degradation layer composed of S-, Pb-, and K-containing compounds over the upper layer of ground
VG3) Cross section of ground and paint layers SEM/EDS
VG4) Cross section of ground and paint layers SEM/EDS
S7) Scraping of ground FTIR, Raman
S8) Scraping of brownish-gray layer covering the surface FTIR, Py-GC/MS
S9) Scraping of varnish FTIR, Py-GC/MS
Landscape with Snow (1888) S2) Cross section and scraping of canvas and ground SEM/EDS, FTIR, Raman Two-layer ground: bottom layer (100–120 μm) is a mixture of chalk and lead white, with traces of Al, Si, Mn, and Fe; upper layer (approximately 20 μm) is mostly lead white Lead white, zinc-containing pigments, vermilion, eosin red and other red lakes observed by optical microscopy, iron-containing earths, umber, cadmium yellow, chromium-containing pigments including chrome yellow and viridian, emerald green, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, Prussian blue Fading of eosin red and possibly of other red lakes
S3) Cross section of ground and paint from greenish-blue area of sky SEM/EDS
S4) Cross section of ground and paint from lilac-blue area of sky SEM/EDS
S5) Scraping of pink paint underneath purple strokes HPLC-PDA
S6) Cross section and scraping of red-brownish paint SEM/EDS, Raman
S7) Cross section and scraping of purple paint with pink underneath SEM/EDS, HPLC-PDA
Mountains at Saint-Rémy (1889) No samples were removed from this painting Lead white Lead white, zinc white, iron-containing earths, eosin red lake, chromium-containing pigments including chrome yellow and viridian, emerald green, cobalt blue, likely Prussian blue Fading of eosin red