• Marco Colombo
  • Stijn Legrand
  • Geert Van der Snickt
  • Koen Janssens


A state-of-the-art method for non-invasive visualization of subsurface layers present in works of art is for the first time employed to study an Antwerp majolica tile tableau manufactured in the mid of the 16th century. Scanning macro x-ray fluorescence mapping (MA-XRF), was used to determine the characteristic elements of the renaissance majolica production and the pigments that were used for the colourful painting present on the tableau. Furthermore, the interpretation of the ensuing elemental images, allowed to visualize earlier retouchings and to distinguish original tiles from pieces that were introduced during 19th and 20th century restoration campaigns.

Biografias do Autor

Marco Colombo

Holds a MSc in Science for the Conservation-Restoration of Cultural Heritage (University of Bologna, Italy), and a BSc in Science and Technologies applied to Cultural Heritage (University of Ferrara, Italy). He worked on his joint MSc dissertation at the AXES research group of the University of Antwerp, under the guidance of Prof. Koen Janssens and Prof. Rocco Mazzeo. During his BSc he spent a year in Portugal within the LLP/Erasmus program. After graduating he went back to Portugal for an Erasmus + internship at the Department of Conservation and Restoration of the National Azulejo Museum in Lisbon. He is currently working as a Research Assistant Lecturer within the IPERION-CH EU project at the Institute of Physics of the University of Toruń (Poland) in the research group of Prof. Targowski (application of imaging and chemical imaging techniques to cultural heritage investigations).

Stijn Legrand

Obtained his MSc in 2012 with the construction of a mobile macroscopic reflectance FTIR scanning instrument. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the field of analytical chemistry at the Antwerp X-ray, Electrochemistry and Speciation group of the University of Antwerp. His research focuses mainly on the development and use of non-destructive analytical techniques using X-ray and Infrared radiation. These techniques are often applied on flat objects of cultural heritage and they contribute to the investigation of material usage, provenance, changes in composition and degradation phenomena.

Geert Van der Snickt

Received his Master in Conservation-Restoration in 2003 at the University of Antwerp. Shortly after, he affiliated with the Department of Chemistry of the same institute. In 2012, he successfully defended a Ph.D. thesis entitled: “James Ensor’s Pigments Studied by Means of portable and synchrotron radiation-based analysis: identification, evolution and degradation” guided by Prof. Koen Janssens, head of the Antwerp X-ray analysis, Electrochemistry and Speciation group. From 2014 to 2018 he held a Chair on Chemical Imaging for the Arts within the same group. In 2019, he returned to the Conservation-Restoration department by accepting a position as tenure track professor. His work focuses on the application of radiation-based chemical imaging techniques for the characterization of paintings and art materials, both with mobile instrumentation and at synchrotron facilities.

Koen Janssens

Is full professor of general and analytical chemistry at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1989 on a thesis dealing with the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques for automated treatment of X-ray analysis data. Since then, he has been actively making use of strongly focused X-ray micro- and nanobeams, produced in large accelerator complexes called Synchrotron Storage Rings, for non-destructive materials analysis. A combination of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction usually is employed to characterize these materials in 2D or 3D imaging mode. He applies the same techniques for better understanding naturally occurring alteration and degradation processes in cultural heritage materials such as historic glass, inks and painters’ pigments. He is currently vice-dean of the Faculty of Science of the University of Antwerp.