Austin Nevin

Recent advances in the analysis of paintings and pigments using a range of analytical imaging techniques based on reflectance and luminescence detection and mapping using X-ray fluorescence and Raman spectroscopies are exciting for conservation. The talk will focus both on the description of developments and applications of imaging-based methods applied with portable instrumentation which have been used in situ. Statistical methods for image analysis will be shown to highlight the potential to treat large datasets and extract useful information regarding pigment distribution on a painted surface. An instrument based on a time-gated CCD and pulsed laser excitation at 532 and 355 nm will be presented, and results will be presented related from the analysis of Renaissance sculptures in marble, wall paintings, Egyptian artifacts and the imaging of Futurist paintings. Examples of applications of Time resolved photoluminescence imaging will be shown both for pigments and for works of art. The analysis of pigments, which range from Egyptian Blue to Zinc Oxides and other semiconductors, reveals a range of different luminescence lifetimes and decay profiles. The interpretation of data from imaging analysis requires care and we have adopted an approach based on the use of other complementary analytical methods including Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR), Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray Fluorescence. Advantages and disadvantages fo the technique and further avenues for research and development will be presented.


Austin Nevin is a chemist and conservator and a Researcher at the Italian National Research Council – Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnologies (CNR-IFN) where he has worked since 2011. He has a degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford and an MA in the Conservation of Paintings (Wall Paintings) and PhD in Conservation from the Courtauld Institute of Art. His research focuses on the analysis of paintings and painting materials, and the study of ancient and modern cultural heritage using optical and spectroscopic techniques. A co-author of over 50 publications, he is an editor of Studies in Conservation, he served as the coordinator of the Scientific Research Working Group of ICOM-CC  (from 2011-2014) and is currently a Council Member and Fellow of the IIC. He lectures internationally and teaches both at the Politecnico di Milano and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera.