Many people are fond of beautiful old paintings that are found in museums. After all, they are so meaningful and creative in nature, it's difficult to keep your eyes off those masterpieces.
However, a recent research has led to the findings that indicate the presence of toxin in the paintings that are loved and cherished by admirers from around the world. A study has been conducted that indirectly led to the conclusion of the museum paintings being poisonous.
Recently, three rare books based on historical topics were obtained by a research group from the University of Southern Denmark. The researchers took those books to understand the content provided in it, which contained Latin texts that were hard to read because of an intense layer of green paint that appeared over the old handwritten alphabets. The motive behind obtaining the books was that the library already discovered that medieval manuscript fragments were used to create covers of the then-books.
To make the Latin texts readable, the books belonging to the 16th and 17th centuries were taken for micro-XRF examination. This is an X-ray fluorescence analysis that helps in the detection of the chemicals present in the books. It also helps in identifying whether a book has any poisonous quality.
The technique is highly used by the archaeologists and artists while investigating the chemical contents of a piece. During the examination, it was found that these books contain arsenic, which is a naturally occurring metalloid, which basically exist in combination with carbon and hydrogen.
One of the characteristics of arsenic is that its poisonous nature is never lost. The findings took the researchers to focus on the museum paintings as the records depict the impressionist and post-impressionist painters used different forms of the chemical to develop the masterpieces during the industrial production of Paris green.
In fact, not only the museum masterpieces but different materials, including book covers and clothes, may have the Paris green coating that can prove to be harmful for users. It was merely an attempt of the researchers to read those historic pieces, containing Latin texts, which accidentally led to the conclusion about the books being poisonous, thereby leading to the inference that museum paintings, too, possess arsenic content.