Dating paper

Radiocarbon dating has the potential to answer the question of when an artwork was created, by providing a time frame of the material used.In this study we show that with two microsamples (C age gained on the paint contradicts this as it offers clear evidence for a post-1950 creation.A time lag of 2–5 y between the radiocarbon date and the date noted on the work of art is not uncommon (15).When the C age of the canvas postdates the signed date, it is considered a potential evidence of forgery (13).In the case of a painting, the typical supports made of textile, wood, parchment, or paper are sampled, as they usually offer sufficient material and can provide decisive evidence in authentication issues (13, 14).Radiocarbon dating of the canvas gives a time frame of when the raw fiber material was harvested and generally has a few years offset with the actual completion of the work.

Technical advances in general, and especially in the field of gas ion source AMS (5, 6), where mixtures of CO and He gas are introduced straight into the GIS-AMS, have reduced sample requirements to micrograms of material (7), thereby setting a new milestone.In the lower right-hand corner, the painting is signed “Sarah Honn May 5, 1866 AD.” The blue rectangle on the left indicates the sampling location of the white paint; the one on the right indicates a close-up of the sampling location.The blue trapezoid in dashed lines shows a previous loss in the white paint due to the nature of the artificial aging used by Trotter––the paint is literally falling off the canvas.Thus the additional dating of the paint reveals the forger’s scheme where the repainting of an appropriately aged canvas was used to convey the illusion of authenticity.Art forgeries have existed since antiquity, but with the recent rapidly expanding commercialization of art, the approach to art authentication has demanded increasingly sophisticated detection schemes.

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