Read all posts on Microscopy

May 2015

A new Stereomicroscope for Art Examination


We just got a new stereo microscope for art examination!  We upgraded to a trinocular microscope with zoom lens 1x-4x and Barlow lens to achieve 140x magnification! It has built-in direct and transmitted light and its high magnification allows even for documentation of cross-section. We are going to couple it with the technical photography (TP) and [...]

May 2013

Identification of Prints: Modern Monochrome printing methods


I posted already on the use of an USB microscope to identify the oldest manual printing methods, relief and intaglio. I now look with my USB microscope at some modern monochrome printing methods to highlights some of their characterizing features. As usual, I don’t discuss the actual printing methods but just how to identify them. [...]

April 2013

Identify Prints. Relief, Intaglio, Engraving and Etching


We do run a lot of initiatives, Stay on top of things! Looking at old and new prints with an USB microscope is revealing and with some experience can lead to their identification. Printmaking history is fascinating as well as a complex subject. I like to share in this post some basic hints [...]

Polarized USB Microscope


Polarized light capability can be added to one of those affordable USB microscopes which are becoming so widely use for art examination. I posted already on the usefulness of those  hand held microscopes, such as for documentation of pigments size and mixtures, craquelure features, textiles, observation of the preparation/ground through the cracks. I introduced the concept of Polarized [...]

March 2013

Auto Focus USB Microscope


I just tested a new USB microscope. It’s in the range of the other affordable USB microscopes, under $100. You can find it on eBay searching “autofocus USB microscope”.Following my insights on this tool. Autofocus USB microscope and beside the calibration slide used to test it.. Autofocus and 3-feet configuration Autofocus. This is [...]

February 2013

Photoshop for paintings’ cross-sections.


Shallow depth of field is a big issue in cross-section examination. It is not that easy to have your embedded sample perfectly flat and laid horizontally under the objective. The outcome is that the sample is not all on focus. You can focus on one area but you lose detail on another area. If this is your [...]

January 2013

A budget microscope for art examination


I have often been asked what kind of microscope is good for art examination. Briefly, you need a trinocular polarizing microscope with epillumination (from the top) and transmitted illumination (light from the bottom). I used to work in Brooklyn with the glorious  polarizing microscope Nikon OPTIPHOT 66. Moving back home in Italy I needed to buy [...]

Microscopy for Art Examination: Identifying textiles


A polarizing microscope is a quick method to identify textiles such as  painting canvases. To identify common historical textile such as cotton, hemp, wool, silk and flax you have to look at certain features. For example, cotton is easily recognized because its fibers show a characteristic twisted shape while hemp, jute and flax are pretty [...]

Microscopy for Art Examination: making slide mounts


Last week I was in Florence visiting my friends at Editech. This is the first established  Italian company working on art diagnostics. They had an awesome office space 5 minutes from the famous city's location "ponte vecchio." Now they just moved to a - yet better place! an historical building facing Arno river, just 1 minute [...]