Why Van Gogh's yellow works are turning brown

275x250.jpgResearchers have discovered that Van Gogh's famous yellow sunflowers are beginning to lose their shine, actually they're turning brown.

A chemical change in one of the yellow pigments favoured by Vincent van Gogh is said to be slowly changing the look of his images.

It's been know for some time that the bright yellows which once featured in van Gogh paintings, are slowly fading and being covered by a brown shade, but no-one knew why.

But art boffins have now used sophisticated X-ray techniques to identify the problem, a "reduction" reaction that alters the chromium in the paint.

Using the results, a team from the University of Antwerp have been able to predict how the the images will now deteriorate over time… though they still look pretty good to us.
275x250.jpg 275x250.jpg"This type of cutting edge research is crucial to advance our understanding of how paintings age and should be conserved for future generations", says Ella Hendriks of the van Gogh Museum Amsterdam.

Professor Dr Koen Janssens, from the University of Antwerp, added: "Our next experiments are already in the pipeline. Obviously, we want to understand which conditions favour the reduction of chromium, and whether there is any hope to revert pigments to the original state in paintings where it is already taking place."

The results, published in the journal Analytical Chemistry now suggest shielding the affected paintings as much as possible from UV and sunlight.




LINKS
University of Antwerp        
van Gogh Museum Amsterdam    
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