School of Arts and Sciences
For the art historian, chemical analysis of pigments serves two main purposes. It can confirm or deny the alleged attribution or dating of a painting based on comparison with the known painting practices of the artist or period. In addition, the analysis of pigments can have a broader, and perhaps a more profound, importance to the historian as a tool for understanding more about the artistic process itself. This paper reviews the collaborative building of a pigment database, tracing lines of influence and interconnection between medieval centers of manuscript production, clarifying periods of known usage of several important artists’ pigments, the difference in pigment usage between Armenian and Byzantine artists, the problems involved with handling manuscripts directly, and anachronistic pigment usage. The technical future of chemical analysis of medieval manuscripts is also discussed.
Orna, M. V. Artists' Pigments in Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts: Tracing Artistic Influences and Connections - A Review. In Archaeological Chemistry VIII; Armitage, R. A. and Burton, J. H., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 1147. American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2013; pp. 3-18.