Conservators and curators from the Art Gallery of New South Wales have used an advanced imaging technique at the Australian Synchrotron to gain more information about an underpainting in a famous Renaissance portrait of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1537 to 1569.
The painting, Cosimo I de’ Medici in armour, by Agnolo di Cosimo, known as Bronzino , is one of at least 25 known portraits of the Duke in armour and the only painting by the Italian mannerist painter in an Australian collection.
Art Gallery of NSW painting conservators Simon Ives, and Paula Dredge (now at The University of Melbourne) and curator of international art Anne Gérard-Austin, used the X-ray fluorescence (XFM) microscopy instrument to scan the portrait with the assistance of senior instrument scientist Dr Daryl Howard.
As reported in an article recently published in the prestigious art journal, The Burlington Magazine, most of the metallic elements in pigments can potentially be imaged with the technique.
Read more on the ANSTO website
Image: (left) Cosimo I de”Medici in armor by Agnolo Bronzini c1545 Art Gallery of NSW and (right) Composite XRF scan map showing mercury (red) and iron (green)