Photo CARAA ©

The Treasure Behind the Wall …

26 November 2019

In Paris, the incredible story of a work of art found by chance

In the vast showroom of the future Oscar de la Renta shop in Paris (4, rue de Marignan, 8th), workers and architects discovered in 2019 a 17th century painting.

After technical study and restoration, it reveals today all its splendor. It is the story of the ambassador of Louis XIV in Constantinople (the Marquis de Nointel) during his visit of Jerusalem … (read the details in the press: The New York Times, The Times, Artnet, …

CARAA was very pleased to have been associated with this exciting study with the Nouvelle Tendance workshop. Here is an overview of the few scientific analyzes conducted on this painting prior to the restorations.


Multispectral Photo CARAA ©

Multispectral Camera

10 December 2018

CARAA has recently acquired a new XpeCAM X01 multispectral camera.

This camera equipped with 30 filters covers the region from 360 to 1200 nm and allows to observe “beyond the visible” in the ultraviolet and infra-red regions and to detect restorations, repentances or preparatory drawings.

But, it also allows to extract the reflectance spectra of each pixel collected and compare it on the totality of the work (mapping). This feature is particularly useful for tracing the presence of a particular pigment in the different regions of an Artwork.

To date, the multispectral examinations carried out with this device have been carried out on various old and modern paintings (Renoir, Manet, Dali, Modigliani, Suetin, Arp, ..) as well as on classified works (e.g. Painted parchments by Dom Michel De Nobletz) and on painted ceramics.

Do you have a question, please contact us?

Parchemins-peints Photo CARAA ©

Painted parchments by Michel le Nobletz

05 December 2018

Physico-chemical Analyzes and Multispectral examinations


The CARAA had the honor to participate with the DRAC Bretagne and Marine Letouzey in a vast study of painted parchments by Michel le Nobletz (named the “mad priest”) kept in the Diocese of Quimper.

These parchments dated from the 16th and 17th centuries, some of which were painted by Alain LESTOBEC, were examined and analyzed.

The study of the pigments, the search for binders as well as the multispectral examination of these parchments made it possible to clarify certain hypotheses concerning the attribution of these works as well as on the restorations that they underwent.

The project was concretized in the form of an international conference (June 2017) and a collective publication (October 2018) under the direction of Yann Celton.

The analyzes were conducted by non-invasive XRF spectroscopy, Raman microscopy, micro-FTIR and the examinations were performed by mean of a multispectral camera (360 to 1200 nm) and UV fluorescence with the help of Xpectraltek.

Tongres Photo CARAA ©

Roman paintings study of Tongeren Basilica

17 May 2018

Physico-chemical analysis of the mural paintings


Conducted for nine years, the excavations of the Basilica Notre-Dame of Tongeren have revealed a significant amount of fragmentary mural paitings. The global study of these paintings was the subject of a public contract launched by the Heritage Agency of Flanders, awarded to the Center for Roman Murals of Soissons.

The study covered the entire material, divided into three categories: in-situ paintings, fragmented paintings collapsed in place and fragmentary paintings from various embankments.

As part of the technical study of these ancient paints, twenty-five wall paint fragments were examined in stratigraphy and analyzed by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (SFX), Raman microscopy and infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).

The objective of the analyzes was to determine the mineral and molecular composition of the pictorial layers by characterizing the pigments used, the mineral fillers and possible organic binders.

The range of pigments and fillers used at Notre-Dame de Tongres has been established and includes – among others – calcite, haematite, minium, cinnabar, goethite, Egyptian blue, green earth, …

The identification of this pallet allowed to better apprehend the attributions to workshops, the original colors and the alterations undergone by the paintings during the numerous fires and degradations of the site.

The publication of volume 3 on the basilica excavations and the study of paintings can be downloaded at : “Historical and Archaeological Research of the Basilica of N-D of Tongeren (1997-2013) Part 3: The First Roman Period“, A Vanderhoeven, A. Ervynck (eds). In Flemish and French (~ 50 MB).


Conde 2017 Photo CARAA ©

XRF Workshop

06 December 2017
Elemental analyses by X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy
Conservation students from the Ecole de Condé (Paris) participated in a workshop dedicated to the use and interpretation of elementary analyses by mean of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF). The artworks analysed during this workshop were:
  • “Mademoiselle de Sens”, (Att. to N. de Largillierre), 18th century, (Museum of Sens)
  • Orbiturary, manuscript on parchment, 12th/13th century, City of Rouffach.
  • “Sainte Cécile”, (no attribution), late 18th century, private coll.
  • “Portrait of man in armor”, (no attribution), late 17th century, private coll.

The goal was to familiarize students with the principle of in-situ and non invasive  elemental analysis, its limitations and its contribution to the understanding of materials in an artwork.