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Revisiting the identification of commercial and historical green earth pigments

Abstract : Green earth is a common green pigment based on celadonite and glauconite, used since Antiquity by artists. Two geological minerals, eight commercial green earth pigments and a sample taken from a historical location in Monte Baldo were characterized. A set of different techniques including X-Ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy coupled to energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and numerous spectroscopies: spectrophotocolorimetry, near and mid infrared, Raman, Mössbauer were used to identify the structure and composition of the different earths. The results highlight complex composition with the presence of various phases, which can be due to the pigment sampling at a different location in the same deposit. Mobile and non-invasive analyses were carried out in order to suggest a protocol for the identification of green earth in artworks, and more specifically to distinguish celadonite and glauconite. With the available mobile non-invasive techniques, and the above analyses on the raw pigments, the green area in Nicolas Poussin’s painting, Bacchanales d’enfants (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica (GNAA), Rome) was examined as a case study.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 14, 2019 - 3:43:29 PM
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Agathe Fanost, Alice Gimat, Laurence de Viguerie, Pauline Martinetto, Anne-Claire Giot, et al.. Revisiting the identification of commercial and historical green earth pigments. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, Elsevier, 2020, 584, pp.124035. ⟨10.1016/j.colsurfa.2019.124035⟩. ⟨hal-02315592⟩

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