Laser cleaning of easel paintings: an overview

Rui Bordalo*, Paulo J. Morais, Helena Gouveia, Christina Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The application of laser cleaning to paintings is relatively recent despite its use on stone-based materials for over 30 years. The cleaning of paintings is of high importance, because it is the least reversible invasive intervention, as well as the most usual of all conservation treatments. Paintings are multilayer system of heterogeneous nature, often very sensitive and inherent difficult to clean. Being a noncontact method, laser cleaning has advantages compared to alternative techniques. Over the last decade, there have been important research studies and advances. However, they are far from sufficient to study the effects on painting materials and to establish the best parameters for each material under investigation. This paper presents a historical overview of the application of laser technology to the cleaning of paintings giving special emphasis on the research of the last decade. An overview of the current research into the interaction between the radiation and the different painting materials (varnish, pigments, and medium) is also given. The pigment's mechanisms of discoloration and the presence of media as a variable factor in the discoloration of pigments are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number90279
JournalLaser Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Laser cleaning of easel paintings: an overview'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this