Microscope demonstration

Microscopes are employed in two ways. First, a stereo microscope is used at 6 to 40 x magnification to observe the surface of the painting and minute details, such as small brushstrokes and surface topography. Microscopic examination can also reveal a picture’s stratigraphy, the order in which paint layers were applied. Samples collected from paintings can be studied in cross section under a high magnification microscope at 100 to 400 x magnification to reveal the sequence and thickness of each paint layer.

Microscopy diagram

The unevenness of the gold layer suggests that the gilding may have suffered severe damage, which prompted repainting of the entire background.

Actual size of sample

Microscopy diagram

The UV image of the sample shows the stratification of the paint layers more distinctly. Each paint layer emits a slightly different fluorescence.