The Pigments of the painter Fleury Richard (1777-1852), a model of multidisciplinary study

The Pigments of the painter Fleury Richard (1777-1852), a model of multidisciplinary study

A study led by Davy Carole in collaboration with Amina Bensalah-Ledoux, Cécile Le Luyer, Anne Pillonnet, Gérard Panczer from ILM1, Erika Wicky from LARHRA2, Stéphane Paccoud from the Musée de Beaux-Arts de Lyon. This multidisciplinary study combining art history and physicochemistry allowed the identification of more than 40 pigments stored in the color cabinet of the Lyon painter Fleury Richard. This student of David is often called a colorist because of the importance he gives to these. It is also brought closer in its artistic approach in the great Dutch masters because of its work on the transparency. This study allowed us to determine the composition of the pigments in the furniture and to place his palette in the context of the time and to discuss his artistic practice. The techniques used are X-ray fluorescence (XRF), infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD).

In addition, XRF measurements of colored areas on three paintings made by the artist and present in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, as well as the estimation of the color indices of these areas and of the raw pigments, have made it possible to (i) identify and reference the pigmented powders and pictorial choices in relation to historical manuscripts describing Fleury Richard’s artistic practice (ii) to identify the most appropriate methods of analysis and to question the difficulty of analyzing paintings non-destructively in which pigments are placed in a matrix and mixed.

Photograph of a part of the color cabinet, analysis of a painting by Fleury Richard, Anlayse by X-ray fluorescence and colorimetric analysis.

  1. Institut Lumière Matière, UMR 5306 Université Lyon1/CNRS ↩︎

  2. Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes, UMR 5190 Université Lyon 2/CNRS ↩︎