An elixir of eternal youth may be the stuff of legend and beyond the reach of humans, but it is not such a fantasy in the world of art restoration, thanks to pioneering work being carried out in a project in the Italian city of Florence.
With age, paintings deteriorate and their structure becomes fragile. That is caused by degradation of calcium carbonate , a fundamental constituent of many works of art. Scientists at a restoration centre in Florence a restoration centre in Florencetrying to reverse that degradation with nanoparticles of calcium hydroxide.
“This painting is severely damaged because of its age, and because it was removed from the wall, with only thin colour layers left, and they’re very faded,” says Fabricio Bandini, a restorer at Opificio. “But with this “nanocalcium” we can now consolidate the fragile parts of the painting.”
Scientists from several countries have joined forces in this European research project: a simple chemical reaction produces nano-particles of