Imaging

X-ray imaging:
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X-ray image of A Commander being armed for Battle by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Painting © Christie’s Images Limited (2010).

Infrared imaging:

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Infrared image of The Village Lawyer’s Office (1618) by Pieter Breughel the Younger. Painting courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Over the last decade, research systems designed to acquire high-resolution multispectral images of paintings and other artworks have been developed, but few of these have reached the open market. Now, AA&R have built a new generation of imaging scanner capable of operating at higher resolutions across a wider range of the electromagnetic spectrum, integrating advanced analysis systems as well. Whether your need is for high colour-accuracy images for reproduction, technical photography such as with X-rays and infrared to study artist’s alterations and underdrawing, or non-invasive analysis for authenticity studies, then the AA&R scanner is for you.

In the ultraviolet-visible-infrared range the AA&R multi-scanner has a resolution of up to 400 pixels/cm (1000dpi) and can image over a range of 350-1700nm in 10nm steps at a full 12-bit in each channel. The coincident full-digital X-ray system gives precisely matched and aligned images down to a spatial resolution of 0.045mm at a similar bit depth. The analysis package includes elemental analysis by X-ray fluorescence to 0.07mm spatial resolution and molecular spectroscopy by fibre-optic Raman, both of which can be used for spot analysis or area mapping.

The design of the AA&R scanner allows unparalleled colour and spatial accuracy, important in achieving ultra-high quality reproductions as well as, for example, technical studies such as of fingerprints and brushstrokes. Our system gives accurate true-scale images (that is, the pixel size is directly related to the true size of the painting). By so tightly coupling all image types and analysis we can extract the maximum amount of information from the artwork without subjective interpretation. This true-scale imaging also allows for repeatability, an essential feature of scientific examination and long-term conservation studies.