XRF scanning as the perfect way of investigating well preserved objects

BRZOZOWSKI posterAuthor: Karol Brzozowski
Mentors: Associate Professor Małgorzata Walczak, PhD, Professor Grażyna Korpal, Michał Plotek, MA

Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, Cracow (Poland)
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art
Specialization: Paintings (5th year of study)


The poster describes how X-ray Fluorescence Scanner works, and presents the results of an investigation carried out by means of this useful device. The object studied was a XVI-century (?) copy after Andrea del Sarto, depicting Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist and the Saints (oil on wood). The painting was also the author’s graduation (Master degree) project. A good state of preservation of the paint layer was an important argument for investigating it, in the first step, by an XRF Scanner, as this method is at the same time effective and non-invasive. The device, which serves to detect elements contained in an object, is able to create a map of elements’ distribution throughout the object, with the resolution under 1 millimetre. The results appeared to be extremely useful in the interpretation of the pigments used and the painter’s technique. Moreover, extensive retouches and overpaintings were revealed.  (Further research, however, may be necessary to check some doubts.) The XRF scanning proved to be a perfect method to start an investigation with. The potentially invasive removing of samples from the object, which is to follow, will be done with a much greater responsibly, as we will know precisely what kind of information we are looking for.

Click here to view the poster. (PDF // 1.85 MB)


Short biography

KAROL BRZOZOWSKI was born in 1988 in Krakow, Poland. He graduated from the Bartlomiej Nowodworski Grammar School no. 1 in Krakow in 2007, and in 2010 he started to study at the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, specializing in conservation of paintings. He received the scholarship for best students two times. In 2014 he was an intern at the Conservation Department of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna for two months. He is currently working on his Master's degree diploma under the supervision of Professor Grazyna Korpal.