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Statue under normal lighting conditions


Statue under ultraviolet light

The ability of a material to fluoresce without the addition of any fluorochromes. Some organic and inorganic materials autofluoresce by absorbing energy from incident radiation then reemitting the radiation at a longer wavelength. The intensity and wavelength distribution of the emission can change as a material ages. Some typical autofluorescent colors are:

- Proteins or carbohydrates: bright white to pale yellow

- Linseed oil: green to yellow when fresh, intensity decreasing with age

- Dammar and Mastic: pale yellow to green, may be dark orange if oil is present

- Shellac: orange (varying shades depending on original color of shellac)

- Zinc white: whitish yellow

- Titanium dioxide or Lead white: deep purple

- Calcite: purple

- Indian yellow: bright yellow

- Polyethylene: whitish purple

- Cellulose nitrate: purple

Synonyms and Related Terms

primary fluorescence; autofluorescent

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • Richard C. Wolbers, Nanette T. Sterman, Chris Stavroudis, Notes for Workshop on New Methods in the Cleaning of Paintings, J.Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 1990 Comment: Source for most fluorescent colors in list
  • G.Osmond "Accelerated Deterioration of Artists Oil Paints: An Assessment Involving Ultraviolet Fluorescence Microscopy" ICOM Preprints Washington 1993 p.239-247