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

November 20, 2012 at 2:00 am 22 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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Leave a Reply to TIL that fake oil paintings can be detected because of nuclear bombs detonated in 1945 because of the fact that isotopes such as strontium-90 and cesium-137 that can be found in oil did not exist in nature previously. If a picture contains these isotopes, Cancel reply

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