Propriétés physico-chimiques et caractérisation des matériaux du ‘sfumato'

Abstract : Leonardo da Vinci's famous technique of the sfumato enables to achieve a smoky aspect, just by shadow and light effects...In order to create the flesh tones, the artist superimposes glazes, very thin translucent layers, rich in organic medium and with low pigment content. Old treatises and recipe books contain valuable information on this technique. Medium recipes have been prepared in order to study their rheological and mechanical properties, and therefore allow a better understanding of glazes formulation. Guidelines from the modern paint industry were also used to better redefine the old masters recipes. Analysis of painting cross sections gave also indications on how Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries formulated their painting layers. The binder / pigment proportion, unknown information until now, was obtained using a combination of two ion beam techniques: PIXE and RBS. Finally, several Leonardo da Vinci paintings were analysed quantitatively by X-Ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Differential X-Ray attenuation allowed modelling of the different paint layers in order to obtain their composition and thickness.
Document type :
Complete list of metadatas
Contributor : Laurence de Viguerie <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 11:54:19 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 1:32:13 AM
Long-term archiving on : Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 11:44:34 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-00544509, version 1


Laurence de Viguerie. Propriétés physico-chimiques et caractérisation des matériaux du ‘sfumato'. Matériaux. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2009. Français. ⟨tel-00544509⟩



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