Van Gogh deliberately chose to paint his famous Sunflowers in multiple shades of yellow. But is the paint still as radiant as it was when the work was first completed?
Not entirely. Artificial light and day light can cause colours to change. And Sunflowers is 130 years old. Scientists recently studied the materials used to create the painting. Thanks to the latest research techniques, they were able to identify the precise composition of Van Gogh’s paints. They also discovered where he used them in his painting.
Experts then reconstructed his paints and carried out ageing tests on them. The results showed that nuances of colour in Sunflowers have been partially lost over time. This can be observed in the fading of a particular type of red paint and the darkening of one type of yellow paint.
"Nothing but Sunflowers in a yellow earthenware pot. Painted with the three chrome yellows, yellow ochre and Veronese green and nothing else."
- Vincent van Gogh to Arnold Koning, on or about 22 January 1889.
Darkening of chrome yellow
Hypothesis in paint