Cadmium yellows (CdYs) refer to a family of cadmium sulfide pigments, which have been widely used by artists since the late 19th century. Despite being considered stable, they are suffering from discoloration in iconic paintings, such as Joy of Life by Matisse, Flowers in a blue vase by Van Gogh, and The Scream by Munch, most likely due to the formation of CdSO4·nH2O. The driving factors of the CdYs degradation and how these affect the overall process are still unknown. Here, we study a series of oil mock-up paints made of CdYs of different stoichiometry (CdS/Cd0.76Zn0.24S) and crystalline structure (hexagonal/cubic) before and after aging at variable relative humidity under exposure to light and in darkness. Synchrotron radiation-based X-ray methods combined with UV-Vis and FTIR spectroscopy show that: 1) Cd0.76Zn0.24S is more susceptible to photooxidation than CdS; both compounds can act as photocatalysts for the oil oxidation. 2) The photooxidation of CdS/Cd0.76Zn0.24S to CdSO4·nH2O is triggered by moisture. 3) The nature of alteration products depends on the aging conditions and the Cd/ Zn stoichiometry. Based on our findings, we propose a scheme for the mechanism of the photocorrosion process and the photocatalytic activity of CdY pigments in the oil binder. Overall, our results form a reliable basis for understanding the degradation of CdS-based paints in artworks and contribute towards developing better ways of preserving them for future generations.

Role of the Relative Humidity and the Cd/Zn Stoichiometry in the Photooxidation Process of Cadmium Yellows (CdS/Cd1−xZnxS) in Oil Paintings

Romani, Aldo;Miliani, Costanza
2018

Abstract

Cadmium yellows (CdYs) refer to a family of cadmium sulfide pigments, which have been widely used by artists since the late 19th century. Despite being considered stable, they are suffering from discoloration in iconic paintings, such as Joy of Life by Matisse, Flowers in a blue vase by Van Gogh, and The Scream by Munch, most likely due to the formation of CdSO4·nH2O. The driving factors of the CdYs degradation and how these affect the overall process are still unknown. Here, we study a series of oil mock-up paints made of CdYs of different stoichiometry (CdS/Cd0.76Zn0.24S) and crystalline structure (hexagonal/cubic) before and after aging at variable relative humidity under exposure to light and in darkness. Synchrotron radiation-based X-ray methods combined with UV-Vis and FTIR spectroscopy show that: 1) Cd0.76Zn0.24S is more susceptible to photooxidation than CdS; both compounds can act as photocatalysts for the oil oxidation. 2) The photooxidation of CdS/Cd0.76Zn0.24S to CdSO4·nH2O is triggered by moisture. 3) The nature of alteration products depends on the aging conditions and the Cd/ Zn stoichiometry. Based on our findings, we propose a scheme for the mechanism of the photocorrosion process and the photocatalytic activity of CdY pigments in the oil binder. Overall, our results form a reliable basis for understanding the degradation of CdS-based paints in artworks and contribute towards developing better ways of preserving them for future generations.
2018
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1434482
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