Early Viridian pigment composition characterization of a (hydrated) chromium oxide borate pigment

Zumbühl, Stefan; Scherrer, Nadim; Berger, Alfons; Eggenberger, Urs (2009). Early Viridian pigment composition characterization of a (hydrated) chromium oxide borate pigment Studies in Conservation, 54, pp. 149-159. DOI: 10.1179/sic.2009.54.3.149

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Pigment analyses on more than 90 paintings dating from between 1885 and 1943 (A. Jawlensky, W Kandinsky F. Hodler and C.Amiet) have revealed that the majority of samples with chromium oxide hydrate green contain a spectroscopically conspicuous by-product. With the aim of tracking down the origin of this component, the so-called Guignet green, a variation of viridian produced by calcination, was systematically synthesized under varying conditions. The resulting products were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy energy dispersive spectrometry, electron microprobe microanalysis with wavelength dispersive spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetric analysis, secondary electron and backscattered electron imaging by scanning electron microscopy, polarized light microscopy and colorimetry The composition of pigment products varies with the calcination conditions. Hasher temperatures and/or longer calcination times lead to an insoluble borate matrix incorporating chronium oxide particles. The result is an amorphous chromium oxide borate Cr2O3 center dot(xH(2)O)-Cr3BO6 polymorph with low water content. Interpreting chromium oxide hydrate green samples within this context, it turns out that calcination conditions in the past were highly variable, leaving behind considerable amounts of borates in the final product. Current data covering more than 60 paintings by Jawlensky suggest that the use of a specific production batch can be resolved hi time. Identification of borates in chromium oxide hydrate green sampels from paintings may thus provide information about the origin of the paint product used.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Materiality in Art and Culture
Bern Academy of the Arts > HKB Teaching
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Materiality in Art and Culture > Material analyses


Zumbühl, Stefan0000-0002-8896-2938;
Scherrer, Nadim0000-0002-6576-885X;
Berger, Alfons and
Eggenberger, Urs


C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
N Fine Arts > ND Painting






Nadim Scherrer

Date Deposited:

04 Mar 2020 14:11

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2020 13:28

Publisher DOI:

DOI: 10.1179/sic.2009.54.3.149

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Web of Science ID:


Additional Information:

Notes: 508HO Times Cited:1 Cited References Count:57 Custom 1: Article Date: 2009

Uncontrolled Keywords:

glasses spectra raman network ir





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