Crack the code of egg-tempera paints

November 29 2021

Image of Crack the code of egg-tempera paints

Picture: Angewandte Chemie

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those readers who like an in-depth scientific analysis of painting materials, here's a recently published article that might be of interest.

This month's edition of the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie has an article on Connecting Rheological Properties and Molecular Dynamics of Egg-Tempera Paints based on Egg Yolk (paywall, unfortunately) penned by Dr. Agathe Fanost, Dr. Laurence de Viguerie, Dr. Guylaine Ducouret, Prof. Guillaume Mériguet, Dr. Philippe Walter, Helen Glanville, Dr. Anne-Laure Rollet, Prof. Maguy Jaber.

Confused by the title? According to the abstract:

Egg-tempera painting is a pictorial technique widely used in the Middle Ages, although poorly studied in its physico-chemical aspects until now. Here we show how NMR relaxometry and rheology can be combined to probe egg-tempera paints and shed new light on their structure and behavior. Based on recipes of the 15th century, model formulations with egg yolk and green earth have been reproduced to characterize the physicochemical properties of this paint at the mesoscopic and macroscopic scales. The rheological measurements highlight a synergetic effect between green earth and egg yolk, induced by the interactions between them and the structural organisation of the system. 1H NMR relaxometry emphasizes the presence and the structure of a network formed by the yolk and the pigment.

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