Project facts

Duration: 2014-01 - 2017-01
Project coordinator: University of Sciences and Technologies; FRANCE
Project consortium: University of Sciences and Technologies; FRANCE Centre de la Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France; FRANCE University of Amsterdam; NETHERLANDS Polytechnic of Milan; ITALY Institute for the Dynamics of Environmental Processes of CNR; ITALY Consorzio interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo dei sistemi a Grande Interfase; ITALY XGLab; ITALY Cyprus Institute Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center; CYPRUS SME Laboratory Nicolas Garnier; FRANCE Atelier de restoration Taillefert; LUXEMBOURG
Funding bodies: JPI CH
Subject areas: Collections, Conservation, Materials, Methods - Procedures, Monitoring, Museums, Objects, Paintings - Painted surfaces, Restoration, Tangible Heritage, Technologies - Scientific processes
Budget: 1,368,000 €


The study of paintings consists of identifying pigments and blinders to highlight the techniques used by the artists but also to propose the most appropriate conservation conditions and restoration treatments.

We observed that the identification of main organic and inorganic components was achieved by different complementary techniques, but that little was known about the interactions between these compounds and with external paintings treatments.

The interaction between pigments and organic blinders and the induced decay and ageing mechanisms was of particular interest in this project.

In this light, the LeadART project's analytical methodologies focused on physico-chemical interactions between zinc and lead white pigments and proteins, glycoproteins, polysaccharides and lipids.

To achieve these objectives, elementary and structural analyses have been employed by the European consortium (France, Italy, Netherlands, Cyprus, Luxembourg) constituted by internationally recognized specialists of Cultural Heritage study (chemists, physicists, conservators, restorators).

Novel analytical methodologies providing more accurate information on organic compound chemical modifications have been proposed and adapted for the first time to Cultural Heritage. New tools for restoration as nanogels have been studied at molecular level. Based on this novel network, the collaborative research have been applied to extraordinary paintings of Antonietta Gallone Archive (The Last Supper, Leonardo de Vinci), mural paintings from famous European buildings (Constitutional Council of Paris Palais Royal, Prosper Chabrol), to the canvas collection of Louvre museum (Van Gogh paintings).

From an economic point of view, the project has helped to launch a new research center dedicated to science and technology in art and archaeology in Cyprus.

Impacts & Results

From a scientific viewpoint, the research conducted in this project has been a great analytical challenge that required teamwork. Combined-expertise of each partner was crucial to achieve the objective of this project.

New methodologies have been developed and optimized to provide new information on the chemical behaviour of paintings components.

The impact of restoration treatments on original paintings components has been evaluated at the molecular level, using for the first time state of the art analytical techniques.

These analytical developments have allowed for a better understanding of the mechanical and chemical behaviours of paintings. This research has contributed to improve conservation conditions and to use the most suitable restoration procedures.


Banner: ‎⁨Jacquemart-André Museum⁩, ⁨Paris⁩ @Shangyun Shen