Can past nuclear explosions advance art history?

A former curator from the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg
believes they can. She has developed a new method for dating paintings
in collaboration with Russian scientists which, she says, provides
“indisputable” evidence of whether a painting was made before or after

According to the inventors, the new patented technology is based on the
idea that man-made nuclear explosions in the 1940s and 1950s released
isotopes into the environment that do not occur naturally. The tiniest
traces of these isotopes, Caesium-137 and Strontium-90, permeated the
planet’s soil and plant life, and eventually ended up in all works of
art made in the post-war era because natural oils are used as binding
agents for paints.

Therefore, they believe that any work of art
originally believed to pre-date World War II, but which registers trace
amounts of Caesium-137 and Strontium-90, can be “definitively” declared
a post-1945 forgery.

Here is the full story.  It’s worth noting that many categories in the art world show rates of forgery approaching 50 percent or higher.


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