Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


FING-ART-PRINT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 22453
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Netherlands

Fingerprinting Europe's cultural art works

A new device shows enormous promise in fingerprinting paintings to deter fraud, theft and damage during transport. It is bound to help protect Europe's cultural art treasures.
Fingerprinting Europe's cultural art works
Paintings and other pieces of art are a valuable part of European culture and heritage, from renaissance paintings and cubism to impressionism and modernism. As these masterpieces move from country to country, exposing them to a variety of dangers from fraud to theft, they require increased protection against illegal trafficking and damage during transport.

The EU-funded project 'Fingerprinting art and cultural heritage - in situ 3D non-contact microscale documentation and identification of paintings and polychrome objects' (Fing-Art-Print) has developed novel ways to protect these art pieces. It found a way to identify or 'fingerprint' a painting without coming into contact with it by measuring roughness, and colour reflectance in a specific place on the painting itself. Using a high-resolution 3D scan of a selected area, digital information such as microscopic texture, and pigments and dyes used can all be stored on an electronic file.

The project successfully developed a user-friendly prototype apparatus for taking fingerprints in collaboration with experts from museums and other organisations. A nano-scale profilometer was adapted to scan areas down to several square millimetres. It is mounted on a robot system which can be easily controlled via specific software. This also makes it simple to relocate the original position of the fingerprint in order to verify authenticity.

in short, the system can be transported easily to anywhere it is needed, such as museums and exhibition halls, requiring only a few minutes per object. It is expected to have enormous impact on the art world, particularly in marking, tracing and verifying important pieces of art.

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