APPLICATIONS OF REFLECTANCE TRANSFORMATION IMAGING FOR DOCUMENTATION AND SURFACE ANALYSIS IN CONSERVATION

Autores UPV
Año
Revista International Journal of Conservation Science

Abstract

Conservators at Universitat Politécnica de Valencia, Spain, explore the advantages and potential applications of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) as an innovative instrument for the documentation and analysis of texture of cultural objects undergoing conservation treatments. A computational photography technique, RTI creates highly accurate and interactive images, where objects can be illuminated from different directions and through a variety of filters to emphasize their surface texture and color. RTI was implemented to try the technique effectiveness for performing detailed examination and diagnostics on a variety of materials, including paintings, works on paper, wooden sculptures, metals, and stone. Resulting images yielded new and valuable information in the identification of manufacturing techniques and assessments of surface condition that were not previously recognized through direct examination or any other photographic techniques. RTI also proved highly effective for detailed documentation of painting and paper objects before and after treatments, helping to assess many subtle changes on pictorial layers and paper supports caused by conservation processes. RTI is an affordable and accessible resource which would be beneficial for to both cultural institutions and individual conservators for the interpretation and evaluation of cultural heritage.