A group of scientists used a new technique to uncover details in an ancient Etruscan painting. The Etruscans were a group of people in the Italian peninsula about 2,500 years before Rome came to power. Painting of the ancients has deteriorated over the ages and lost its colorful details, essentially becoming a human-like red dot.
Scientists found New details In a painting from “The Tomb of the Monkey”, some scenes depicting the underworld and another work of art. The researchers say an important issue in viewing artwork and learning more about ancient people is that many paintings are only partially visible, and color is lost. The main problem, says researcher Gloria Adinolfi, is the large loss of color in preserved panels due to the physical chemical composition of some specific colors.
To reveal the missing colors in the panels, the scientists used something called multi-light spectroscopic extraction, or MHX. This technique involves capturing dozens of images using visible, infrared and ultraviolet light bands that are processed using algorithms developed by the National Research Council of Italy. This technology can detect Egyptian blue, a color that was developed in ancient Egypt with a very specific response in a single spectral range.
Using this technique, the team analyzed the remaining remaining colors to determine what the painting originally looked like. With a combination of MHX and color analysis, the team revealed scenes that had vanished from the old panels. Among the restored scenes are images of the Etruscan underworld that showed rocks, trees, and water.
The team was also able to recover a painting that looked like a blur of red at first glance, but after completing the analysis, the painting showed a person holding an object and details of the person’s hair and face. The techniques will be used in other panels in the future.