Science gives clues to 'The Bedroom' as van Gogh painted it | Science News

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Science gives clues to 'The Bedroom' as van Gogh painted it

Recolorization on display at Art Institute of Chicago restores iconic painting's original colors

7:00am, March 23, 2016
Recolorization of van Gogh's 'The Bedroom'

A NEW VIEW Conservation science, color theory and art history came together to produce this recolorization of Vincent van Gogh's The Bedroom.

Compare the original and recolorized paintings

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.

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