Aug 25, 2017 09:33 AM EDT
Archaeologists revealed a beautiful Roman painting that existed under the volcanic ash for almost 1800 years. A unique X-ray technology has helped to unveil the captivating beauty of the painting.
The Roman painting remained buried for a long time under the dust of the ancient town Herculaneum. A volcanic eruption of the Mount Vesuvius affected severely the Roman resort town Herculaneum, a place located near the modern-day Naples. The eruption took place in 79AD and destroyed this town along with the nearby Pompeii.
Due to the eruption, Herculaneum was covered by the volcanic material. The town was buried under sixty-six feet of the volcanic material. According to the IBTimes, archaeologists rediscovered the ancient Roman town in the 19th century. After the rediscovery important excavation work began that unearthed many artworks, like the said Roman painting, statues, and frescoes.
The important fact is the layers of the molten lava, and the volcanic ash helped to preserve these artworks for centuries. Notably, excavation during the mid-19th century deteriorated these masterpieces' quality that included the Roman painting. The painting actually depicts an ancient Roman woman.
Around seventy years ago the ancient Roman painting of a young woman was excavated. The portrait remained beautiful at that time. But, exposure to the temperature variations, humidity, salt and several atmospheric agents greatly damaged the recovered paintings, statues, and the frescoes.
In recent times it has truly become impossible to identify the actual image on the canvas while watching the Roman painting with naked eyes. Scientists have revealed how the use of a unique X-ray technology helped them to discover the beauty of the original portrait. The scientists unveiled this fact while presenting a study at the famous 254th ACS National Meeting & Exposition. It even helped a lot to reveal a sketch that shows the woman's eyes, mouth, and nose in great detail.
To analyze and scan the Roman painting, scientists used the macro XRF or the macro X-ray fluorescence instrument. The analyzation of the painting can take place without touching the painting by the device. The best part is the machine helps to map the important chemical elements exist in the painting, like iron, copper or lead.
Famous scientist and professor Eleonora Del Federico, associated with the Herculaneum Conservation Project, played a significant role in the research to analyze the Roman painting. Unravelling the wall paintings' details that are no more visible with naked eyes means to bring the said ancient people back to the life. Prof. Del Federico reports that to know more about the techniques and the materials used for the wall paintings will be very helpful. She opines that these will help to preserve the artworks for the future generations, according to the EXPRESS.
Using the newly developed X-ray technology, the researchers revealed the artist of the Roman painting used a pigment to draw the woman. The pigment was iron-based. The lead pigment highlighted around the woman's eyes. The existence of potassium was seen near the woman's cheeks that indicate the use of the green earth pigment to bring the "flesh color".
The recent research explores an important fact that science helped to know the people lived in the Herculaneum. The young woman of the Roman painting no more exists. But the recent study reveals the woman's thoughtful expression and her captivating beauty.
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