What did the colours in Van Gogh's paintings look like shortly after he painted them?
Van Gogh's ink drawings had originally much more contrast and colour.
Thanks to a new sampling technique, the REVIGO project could analyse the original colour of inks Van Gogh used in a number of drawings and letters. The results are remarkable.
REassessing VIncent van GOgh (REVIGO) was carried out as part of the NWO Science4Arts programme. Analysis revealed that Van Gogh’s pen and ink drawings originally displayed greater colour and contrast.
Exposure to light has turned the black, violet and purple inks pale and brown. Based on the analysis results, researchers at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands have been seeking to reconstruct both the original and the future appearance of the pen and ink drawings digitally.
Dutch science platform De Kennis van Nu (The Knowledge of Now), made a 15 minutes documentary about new techniques thanks to which it is possible to discover the true colours of artworks. The video is subtitled in English, skip to 09:19 minutes to see the REVIGO project.