Recolorization on display at Art Institute of Chicago restores iconic painting's original colors
Roy S. Berns and Brittany Cox/Munsell Color Science Laboratory/Rochester Inst. of Tech., Kelly Keegan/Art Inst. of Chicago
Though science and art are vastly different disciplines, one can shed light on the other. That connection is on display in a recolorized version (above) of Vincent van Gogh’s The Bedroom.
The colors in the original work, a version painted in 1889, have faded over time. For an exhibit on display through May 10 at the Art Institute of Chicago, conservation scientist Francesca Casadio and colleagues conducted a number of tests to reveal the pigments van Gogh used.
A macro X-ray fluorescence scanner gave scientists a broad picture of the elements and minerals in the paint. A technique called surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy — which uses laser light to make molecules vibrate in a way that betrays their identity — gave clues to other pigments in the paint.