Technical Analysis & Documentation

Technical analysis allows conservators to work with a much higher degree of certainty and precision, and to see beyond the naked eye, to see ‘through’ a work. Its principal objective is to analyze an artist’s techniques and materials, assess damage and any previous restorations. It can also help authenticate artwork and detect forgeries. Here are some of types of technical analysis that Preservation Arts uses to better understand your artwork.

  • Historical Research

  • Digital Photography

  • Ultra Violet (UV) Photography

  • Infrared (IR) Microscopy

  • Pigment & Medium Analysis

  • Identify and treat active copper corrosion, ie “bronze disease”

  • Wood Identification

  • Pigments Identification

  • Characterization of coatings

  • Radiocarbon dating

  • Elemental Analysis of Metals

  • Plastics Identification

  • Cross-sectional Analysis of Paint Films

  • Visible Light Microscopy

  • Portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)


For assessments or information:

Please contact us to set up an appointment.

Call 510-808-7894 or email

Ultra Violet (UV) Photograghy

This simple technique can be used to reveal layers, pigments, previous restorations and the techniques used by an artist.

The photos to the right show objects being examined under UV light. In this case a previous repair was discovered in the ivory.

The photos below demonstrate how UV light can be used during painting conservation. The top row is regular light and bottom row shows Front of Painting Under UV-Induced Visible Fluorescence Before Cleaning (Left) and After Treatment (Right)

Infra-Red (IR) Microscopy

Preservation Arts uses a Zarbeco MP3 MiScope. MiScope Megapixel MP3 (MISC-MP3) is a superior grade lab quality portable digital microscope.

IR Microscopy can reveal original drawings hidden beneath the paint.

Visible Light Microscopy can be used for examination or treatment.

Visible Light Microscopy can be used for examination or treatment.

Material Identification using Microscopy - The following slides shows photos of materials viewed with a microscope under 20x magnification.