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Modern Chemistry Techniques Save Ancient Art Nanoparticles, laser cleaning, and glue-eating bacteria restore valuable frescoes and paintings

Bacteria able to metabolise dirt encrustations can be used to clean up frescoes © Asociación RUVID

The metabolic power of bacteria

[…] An unusual approach to cleaning came from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. We are familiar with enzymes in washing powders but Pilar Bosch’s team has taken things a step further, using bacteria to remove inorganic crusts and animal glues from frescoes. Because bacteria can produce a whole host of enzymes they can deal with complex cleaning problems, metabolising organic and inorganic matter into hydrogen sulfide, molecular nitrogen or carbon dioxide. Over the last 10 years, the method has been successfully used at several important sites, including the Camposanto in Pisa, Italy, a 13th century burial ground supposedly constructed around soil brought back from Jerusalem during the Crusades. […]

[…]

An acrylic time-bomb

The introduction of organic dyes in the 19th century, followed by paints based on acrylic polymers in the 20th has set a conservation time-bomb ticking. The survival of vivid colours in Renaissance art is largely due to the chemical stability of the inorganic pigments used, but this is not the case with modern acrylic paints. While the scale of the problem is not yet clear, it is likely that within several hundred years synthetic dyes will have faded and plastic binders depolymerised, becoming powdery. ‘Being provocative, we can say that if you looked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 100 years it will be an empty museum, because what’s inside will be completely degraded,’ Baglioni says. […]

Jun 28, 2014 |By Rachel Brazil and ChemistryWorld

source: http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2014/06/art-conservation

via: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/modern-chemistry-techniques-save-ancient-art/?page=1

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  • #conservation #restoration #preservation #chemistry techniques #heritage #conservation technology #art #nanoscience #laser cleaning #solvents #polimer #acrylic #bacteria #innovative methods #conservation methods #restoration methods #Cleaning #materials #artwork
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archivalia:

Inside the Bodleian: Building a 21st Century Library (von oxford)

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  • #conservation management #preservation #oxford #restoration #restoration materials
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