Fading orange-red in Van Gogh’s paintings

10 marzo 2015

Red lead is most familiar to us in orange-red rustproof paint. Artists have treasured the brilliant color of this pigment for their paintings since ancient times. However, various aging processes cause discoloration of the saturated hue over time. Thanks to a combination of X-ray diffraction mapping and tomography experiments, scientists have now explained an additional step in the light-induced degradation of lead red.