Topics in Current Chemistry

, 374:6 | Cite as

Analytical Approaches Based on Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) to Study Organic Materials in Artworks and Archaeological Objects

  • Ilaria Bonaduce
  • Erika Ribechini
  • Francesca Modugno
  • Maria Perla Colombini
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Analytical Chemistry for Cultural Heritage


Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), after appropriate wet chemical sample pre-treatments or pyrolysis, is one of the most commonly adopted analytical techniques in the study of organic materials from cultural heritage objects. Organic materials in archaeological contexts, in classical art objects, or in modern and contemporary works of art may be the same or belong to the same classes, but can also vary considerably, often presenting different ageing pathways and chemical environments. This paper provides an overview of the literature published in the last 10 years on the research based on the use of GC/MS for the analysis of organic materials in artworks and archaeological objects. The latest progresses in advancing analytical approaches, characterising materials and understanding their degradation, and developing methods for monitoring their stability are discussed. Case studies from the literature are presented to examine how the choice of the working conditions and the analytical approaches is driven by the analytical and technical question to be answered, as well as the nature of the object from which the samples are collected.


Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry Wet chemical sample pre-treatment Analytical pyrolysis Organic materials Paintings Archaeological objects 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Industrial ChemistryUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Institute for the Conservation and Promotion of Cultural HeritageNational Research Council of ItalySesto FiorentinoItaly

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