Pigments, Dyes and Chemical Fingerprints in Art Conservation

Pigments, Dyes and Chemical Fingerprints in Art Conservation


Joy of Science Channel: Extreme Chemistry Series


Is that painting in your attic an original Old Masters print? Is your grandmother’s stained glass really 800 years old (Hint: metal nanoparticles)? Using modern instruments, a conservation scientist can identify the chemical make-up of pigment from just a single microscopic particle of the colorant. While chemistry cannot appraise the value of your art, it can help confirm if the item you have is historic (or a fake). Kristin Wustholz of the College of William and Mary will share analytical methods that are applied to art conservation.  Do you have a piece for the Antiques Roadshow?



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“Pigments, Dyes and Chemical Fingerprints in Art Conservation” A short presentation followed by Q&A with speaker, Dr. Kristin Wustholz, College of William and Mary.


What You Will Learn

  • Using chemistry to identify artists materials in paintings
  • Using nanotechnology to identify colorant in a single grain of paint
  • How collaborations between chemists and conservators can lead new discoveries
  • And much more…


Webinar Details

Date: Thursday, May 31, 2012

Time: 2:00-3:00 pm ET

Fee: Free


Meet Your Experts

Dr. Kristin Wustholz obtained a B.A.S. from Muhlenberg College in 2002 and a Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 2007. Her postdoctoral work involved surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) studies at Northwestern University. Kristin is currently an Assistant Professor of chemistry at the College of William and Mary, with research interests in single-molecule fluorescence and SERS spectroscopy.



 Darren Griffin, PhD is Professor of Genetics at the University of Kent, UK. Previously he was Professor of Genetics at Brunel University. In 2002, he was admitted as a fellow of the Society of Biology and in 2008 he was awarded both a fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists and Doctor of Science from the University of Manchester. He was awarded the Institutional Teaching Prize for his work in supervising graduate students and was recently shortlisted for Research Project of the Year by the Times Higher Education supplement. Dr. Griffin completed his post-doctoral research in Cleveland, Ohio and at The University of Cambridge. He received his PhD at University College London in 1992, graduated from the University of Manchester in 1988.


Additional Resources



Authentic or Not, ChemMatters April 2011

Artistic Chemistry, ChemMatters April 2012


ChemMatters Video – Episode 6 from ACS Pressroom on Vimeo.


The Fine Print

ACS Webinars™ does not endorse any products or services. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the American Chemical Society.



2 Responses to “Pigments, Dyes and Chemical Fingerprints in Art Conservation”

  1. Ann M. Heos says:

    ACS Webinar presentation “Pigments, Dyes and Chemical Fingerprints in Art Conservation” was very instructive. Surface enhanced spectroscopy is a rapidly evolving field – Dr. Wustholz performed some fine applications.

  2. Huang Lin says:

    Dear Dr. Kristin Wustholz:

    The terminology of Nano-technology was started in 2001. I wrote a proposal in 1998 by using iron hydroxide liquid to coat the red hot coal bottom ash. By that time I was looking for a lab can perform the layers of iron atoms on the surface of ash porous surface. Is there any equipment can determine the layers of atom on surface. Low energy X-ray, Raman spectrum, or laser beam with microscope?

    Thank you in advance for your information.

    Huang S. Lin, Ph. D.
    717-783-6886 (O)

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