Preserving and protecting art from harm can be complicated. Conservators strive to find a balance between protecting the artifact and retaining the original artistic intent. So, methods such as electrochemistry are vital in art conservation. Below are instances which show electrochemistry’s role in protecting art for future generations.

In Italy, a study was conducted to check the efficacy of various coatings on a sample of fire-gilded bronze. Using electrochemical analysis, the corrosion rate under different laboratory conditions was determined. The test was then scaled up to real-world conditions to determine how coatings impacted a real artifact. In this case, the sample used, served as a replica for the Gates of Paradise.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam use an electrolytic pencil to clean tarnished silver surfaces without risking damage. The tool utilizes electrolysis to selectively reduce the silver sulfide, thus restoring the surface.

Finally, electrochemical surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (EC-SERS) combines the principles of Raman spectroscopy with electrochemistry, to enhance the signal strength and sensitivity of the Raman spectrum. This is used to analyze pigments, dyes, varnishes, and other materials used in artworks.

Read more: Conservation of art using electrochemistry | Metrohm