IPERION CHIntegrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage
Type: (Multi/Hyper Spectral) Imaging



The image analysis offers amazing possibilities for diagnosis and study of artworks. Depending on the type of radiation used (e.g., visible VIS, infrared IR) the different techniques allow us to reconstruct an image of the object that contains information other than that you may have from a simple vision. The results obtained are of extraordinary importance both for the analysis of conservation state of the artwork, and for its storage and memory.

In particular, the Infrared Reflectography, thanks to the properties of transparency of the pigments to the infrared radiation, allows the visualization of features underneath the surface of paintings, such as the underdrawing sketch, the “pentimenti” or subsequent repaintings.

The Multispectral Scanner is revolutionary in the field of Infrared Reflectography because it allows to simultaneously acquire a set of high resolution images at different wavelengths in the spectral region of near-infrared that are perfectly superimposed and represent the response of the painting at that particular wavelength. The final images obtained with this tool then open up new possibilities of analysis in the field of non-invasive diagnostics, allowing a more detailed study of the materials, of the artist’s technique and of the various phases of preparation of an artwork.


Technical details

The two multi-spectral scanning imaging systems are both evolutions of a prototype developed within the European project EU-ARTECH.

The RGB+NIR Scanner has 16 bands: 13 in the near IR covering the range 800-2265 nm, and 3 for acquiring a colour RGB image of the painting;the Vis-NIR Scanner has 32 bands: 16 in the near IR (800-2400 nm) and 16 in the visible (400-800 nm)range.

The spatial sampling is 250 micron and the acquisition speed is 3 hours per square meter for both instruments.

Both systems are computer controlled: the instrument software consents the recording of the multi-spectral data set with real-time monitoring of the acquisition through a user-friendly GUI (Graphic User Interface).

The multi-spectral data is stored as a set of 16-bit images, one for each spectral channel.


Further readings
  1. Fontana, R.; Bencini, D.; Carcagnì, P.L.; Greco, M.; Mastroianni, M.; Materazzi, M.; Pampaloni, E.; Pezzati, L., Multi-spectral IR reflectography, proceedings of SPIE, 2007, 6618.
  2. Bonifazzi, C.; Carcagnì, P.L.; Fontana, R.; Greco, M.; Mastroianni, M.; Materazzi, M.; Pampaloni, E.; Pezzati, L.; Bencini, D.,  A scanning device for VIS-NIR multispectralimaging of paintings, «Journal of Optics», 2008, 10 (6).
  3. Daffara, C.; Pampaloni, E.; Pezzati, L.; Barucci, M.; Fontana, R.,  Scanning Multispectral IR Reflectography SMIRR: an Advanced Tool for Art Diagnostics, «Accounts of Chemical Research», 2010v 43 (6).