Fake Art Can Be Detected Because of Nuclear Bombs Detonated in 1945

November 20, 2012 at 2:00 am 13 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

Art forgers have become experts at creating the types of paints and canvases used during popular and valuable art periods, to the point that art experts may not be able to distinguish a fake from the real thing.

But, Dr Elena Basner, a long time art curator, worked with scientists to create a much better way to detect forged oil paintings.

Prior to the first nuclear bomb detonation in July of 1945, isotopes such as strontium-90 and cesium-137 simply did not exist in nature. They were created by the massive neutron bombardments that occur during a thermonuclear explosion.

Since those isotopes didn’t exist in nature prior to 1945, paintings created prior to 1945 could not contain them originally.

550 nuclear bombs were detonated from 1945 to 1963, when most nations agreed not to test nuclear weapons any longer. The isotopes created during this period bind with the types of crops that are used to produce oil based paints. Therefore, oil paintings created after 1945 will contain trace amounts of these new isotopes.

If someone is trying to pass a work that is dated prior to 1945, but it contains these isotopes, it is almost certainly a fake.

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Sources: TheArtNewspaper.com, Wikipedia (Nuclear Weapon)

Entry filed under: Geek. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. starscraper99  |  November 20, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Wow, very interesting! Thanks for sharing! :D

    Reply
  • 2. Hungry Hungry Hippo  |  November 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    The entire planet is now polluted with these nuclear isotopes. All hail cancer.

    Reply
  • 3. Andre  |  December 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Cesium-137 testing was featured in an episode of the television series White Collar. In the episode, titled “Bottlenecked”, a cesium test was used to authenticate a bottle of wine said to have been owned by Benjamin Franklin.

    Reply
  • 4. eric79new4@hotmail.com  |  March 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Almost certainly a fake…Means that it could also be genuine.

    Reply
  • 5. Manny Espinola  |  October 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

    What about genuine art cleaned up and restored using post-1945 materials?

    Reply
    • 6. enchantedbacon  |  October 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      That doesn’t magically remove the cesium.

      Reply
      • 7. Pacmatt  |  October 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm

        No. It adds it. Maybe think before mocking someone.

  • […] by Steelpants [link] [805 […]

    Reply
  • […] Prior to the first nuclear bomb detonation in July of 1945, isotopes such as strontium-90 and cesium-137 simply did not exist in nature. Pieces of art and bottles of wine created before 1945 can be tested for cesium, if they contain traces of cesium they would almost certainly be fake. […]

    Reply
  • […] Art forgers have become experts at creating the types of paints and canvases used during popular and valuable art periods, to the point that art experts may not be able to distinguish a fake from the real thing. But, Dr Elena Basner, a long time art curator, worked with scientists to create a much better way to detect forged oil paintings. At Broken Secrets […]

    Reply
  • 11. PicFacts | KickassFacts.com  |  October 27, 2014 at 4:19 am

    […] Source […]

    Reply
  • […] by PenroseCube [link] [392 […]

    Reply
  • 13. Ruée vers l’art |  |  May 19, 2015 at 5:15 am

    […] la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, il est désormais possible de distinguer les fausses oeuvres d’art, les detonations nucléaires à Iroshima et Nagasaki ayant relâché des isotopes de strontium et […]

    Reply

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