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In this paper is undertaken the study of lead isotope ratios in microsamples of lead white, with the object of exploring the use of the measurement of these data as a useful tool for characterisation and authentication of paintings containing this pigment. The basis of this approach is the following: there are four stable isotopes of lead having masses 204, 206, 207 and 208. The first three are end products of natural radioactive decay series beginning with uranium or thorium nuclides. As a consequence of the mineral history of lead ore there is a wide variation in the relative isotopic composition found in such materials. Observing the mentioned variations in lead ore deposits accessible to artists in different stages of history, the use of lead isotope ratios is explored as a tool for characterisation and source identification. This study is completely devoted to the wall-painting of Piero della Francesca (15th century) which represents one of the most important examples through the world.

Additional information

Authors: TRINCHERINI P R, JRC Ispra Estab., 21020 Ispra (VA) (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Progetto Piero della Francesca, 1989, pp. 295-297
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