We determined the mechanical properties of oil paint layers after 30 years of drying!

This achievement allows us to understand how craquelures – a network of cracks – are formed in paintings, but also enables the development of effective methods of protecting works of art in museums while caring for the natural environment.

We have shown that paints become stiff, brittle and shrink over time, leading to cracking. This happens regardless of museums’ care for the climatic conditions around the stored objects, which opens the way to the introduction of energy-efficient preservation methods, especially in the era of the energy crisis, but more generally allows the heritage sector to contribute to the mitigation of global climate change.

The full text can be found at:


The results published in Heritage Science were obtained as part of the CollectionCare (H2020-NMBP-ST-IND-2018) project funded by the European Commission.

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