Evaluation of Cleaning Processes Using Colorimetric and Spectral Data for the Removal of Layers of Limewash from Medieval Plasterwork
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AuthorMartínez Domingo, Miguel Ángel; Calero Castillo, Ana Isabel; Vivar García, Eva; Valero Benito, Eva María
Spectral imagingPlasterworkRestorationCleaning proceduresLime layer
Martínez-Domingo, M.Á.; Calero Castillo, A.I.; Vivar García, E.; Valero, E.M. Evaluation of Cleaning Processes Using Colorimetric and Spectral Data for the Removal of Layers of Limewash from Medieval Plasterwork. Sensors 2020, 20, 7147. https://doi.org/10.3390/s20247147
SponsorshipMinistry of Economy and Competitiveness HAR2015-66139-P; European Union (EU) HAR2015-66139-P
In the cultural heritage preservation of medieval buildings, it is common to find plaster walls covered in lime, which previously were painted in polychromy. The conservation interventions usually try to remove the whitewash, whilst maintaining the original color of the painted wall as much as possible. However, there is no agreement on which cleaning technique best preserves the original appearance of the colored plaster. Different pigments found below the lime layer may behave differently depending on the cleaning technique used. Usually, colorimetric or photometric area-based measurements are carried out to study the color of the cleaned areas to compare with their original color, obtained from pre-made plaster probes. However, this methodology fails when the mean color difference is not enough to fully characterize the changes in texture and color appearance. This study presents a set of experiments carried out using two different pigments (cinnabar and malachite) covered with lime, and treated with nine different cleaning techniques on plaster probes prepared according to medieval techniques. We have studied the effect of the cleaning process on the color and the homogeneity of the samples using a hyperspectral imaging workflow. Four different analysis methods are presented and discussed. Our results show that the proposed analysis is able to provide a much more comprehensive and diversified characterization of the quality of the cleaning method compared to the commonly used colorimetric or photometric area-based measurements.