Reading information hidden in works of art


The technology is Portuguese, and the innovation was born in the management and conservation laboratory in the non-invasive diagnostic area of Signinum – Gestão de Património Cultural, the same company that created XpectralTEK.

This technology from XpectralTEK, a startup incubated at the UPTEC – Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto, can now be applied to any surface, whether in paint screens or even in tiles.

“This analysis explores the characteristics that materials possess in reflecting, absorbing and emitting electromagnetic radiation, which depends on molecular composition and shape. Knowing that each substance has a typical reflectance or fluorescence, as if it were an identity card, it becomes possible to obtain information about the works that, unarmed view, would not be possible”, explained António Cardoso, CEO of Signinum.

This multispectral analysis of the cultural heritage now allows for action in the diagnostic phase, with the location, reading and still analysis of hidden information.

Thus, during the conservation and restoration intervention, it will already be possible to classify and map pigments and substances, visible or not, on any surface. Moreover, in the monitoring, by performing several spectral readings, at different times, will be essential to detect and even predict some changes that may occur and lead to the degradation of works of art.

All this technology was initially tested in the Church of the Clergy, in Porto, and managed to locate, read and analyze various information hidden in works of art. In the National Museum of Machado de Castro it was still possible to monitor the state of a painting and the need for intervention through a simple reading made by ultraviolet and infrared.

It is also worth mentioning that XpectralTEK is a technological company that creates solutions of artificial vision based on multispectral image, allowing in this way an extended analysis in the spectrum, from the ultraviolet ranges, through the visible radiation, to the infrared range. Signinum, is a company dedicated to the valuation and preservation of cultural heritage.