Spatially resolved synchrotron radiation induced X-ray fluorescence analyses of rare Rembrandt silverpoint drawings
New analyses of a series of very rare silverpoint drawings that were executed by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606 1669) which are kept today in the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) of the State Museums of Berlin are reported here. Analysis of these drawings requires particular attention because the study has to be fully non-destructive and extremely sensitive. The metal alloy on the paper does not exceed some hundreds of μg/cm2. Therefore, synchrotron radiation induced X-ray fluorescence (SR-XRF) is together with external micro-proton-induced X-ray emission the only well-suited method for the analyses of metalpoint drawings. In some primary work, about 25 German and Flemish metalpoint drawings were investigated using spatially resolved SR-XRF analysis at the BAMline at BESSY. This study enlarges the existing French German database of metalpoint drawings dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, as these Rembrandt drawings originate from the 17th century where this graphical technique was even rarer and already obsolete. It also illustrates how SR-XRF analysis can reinforce art historical assumptions on the dating of drawings and their connection.