Moscow Museum of Modern Art has a unique laboratory for research on artworks.

The MMOMA Scientific Research Laboratory is one of the best centers for research on artworks in Russia. In addition to working with artworks from the Museum’s collection, we conduct scientific research together with the Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and many other institutions.

The laboratory conducts technical and technological research on artworks to solve various problems as follows:

  • to evaluate the stratigraphic systems of painting;
  • to define sets of materials and technological methods;
  • to conduct assessment of the lower chronological boundary of the artwork creation.

The laboratory uses experimental methods to identify any components of painting correctly and objectively, as follows:

  • historical and modern mineral pigments;
  • historical natural organic binding materials;
  • natural and synthetic organic polymeric materials;
  • fibrous materials of canvas, paper, cardboard, fiberboard.

The laboratory employs modern scientific instruments. Nondestructive methods to investigate artworks:

  • For photography with different shooting modes.
  • For a survey of the painting surface in the reflected visible light, there’s a Leica M400 microscope mounted on a special tripod, enabling to move freely in any direction (objective lens: from 8x to 4x zoom).
  • For radiography, there’s a Gilardoni portable X-ray unit.
  • For infrared reflectography, there’s a Falcon Scanner IR 2D scanner.
  • For a survey of canvases under Ultra-Violet light, there’s a 400w UV lamp with a corner reflector.

Laboratory methods of selection of micro samples of paintings and their follow-up research:

  • Leica DM4000, a universal microscope for analysis of micro samples and their individual components in visible reflected and transmitted polarized light, as well as in reflected ultra-violet light.
  • Nicolet Almega XR, a Raman microspectrophotometer, enabling to obtain Raman spectra from a fragment of painting with dimensions of 2×2 microns.
  • Nicolet Avatar 370 infrared (IR) spectrophotometer with a Continuum microscope, enabling to obtain IR spectra from a fragment of painting with linear dimensions of 20 microns.
  • Finnigan Trace GC Ultra, a high-temperature gas-liquid chromatograph with direct sample injection and subsequent mass spectrometric analysis, enabling to identify organic components in extracts from painting micro samples.
  • Equipment for pyrolysis—gas chromatography / mass spectrometry.


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