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Monet’s painting confirmed genuine by using Specim’s hyperspectral camera

06 August 2018

The 1891 work ‘A Haystack in the Evening Sun’ was found to be a genuine piece of Claude Monet’s work by researchers of RECENART project in the University of Jyväskylä. The research team revealed a layer of paint over Monet’s signature, and year of the oil painting by using a hyperspectral camera developed and produced by SPECIM.

The painting has been owned by the the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation since the 1950’s but it has not been authenticated so far because the signature is covered by paint.

The work was examined at the University in the Recenart – Research Center for Art multidisciplinary project in Mänttä. The study used the hyperspectral camera with an XRF device, which tells of the work’s elemental composition.

“The hyperspectral camera took an image of 256 different wavelengths simultaneously in the near-infrared region. This wavelength region is not visible to the human eye. Many of the painting’s pigments which have been used and are still used today are there in the wavelength range which is partially and even completely transparent. In this case, the light reflection can be measured from the surface layer and deeper” says researcher Ilkka Pölönen.

“The camera is principally operating as a scanner, which scans one line at a time. The optics includes a prism structure which diffuses the light’s wavelength order, a custom-made sensor is used capable of recording infrared radiation. When the camera is moved using the scanner an image of the whole picture can be obtained.”

The camera produces one table with the large number of spectral data. Monet’s signature was applied to the data spectrum separation methods, which have been studied in the international research. “Spectral imaging and its many applications has been a favourite area of research. Two dissertations have already been published on this subject and have dealt with, among other things, medical and environmental science applications”, says dean Pekka Neittaanmäki.

The news story was published in Keskisuomalainen.

For more information on the art research please contact the RECENART project
Hanna Pirinen, Head of the Project, Docent, Art history, Department of Art and Cultural Studies, hanna.k.pirinen@jyu.fi
Tiina Koivulahti, Project Manager, Art historian, tiina.e.koivulahti@jyu.fi

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