Chemical-technological laboratory

The Chemical-technological Laboratory is a major specialized department of the National Gallery Prague, part of its Department of Records, Administration and Preservation of the Collections. Its highly qualified researchers and equipment make it one of the premier workplaces in Czech museums and galleries able to carry out a wide range of material analyses of artworks. One of the Laboratory’s foremost activities is identifying art materials, such as pigments, colouring and binding agents, wood, textiles, metals and plastics. Its research programs specialize in material analysis. Their results become an integral part of the overall knowledge of an artwork’s nature and a starting point to evaluate the artistic techniques. Within its research activities, the laboratory evolves and introduces into practice new instrumental techniques to carry out non-invasive or non-destructive artwork analysis. The Laboratory also houses a vast archive of examined samples and laboratory reports dating back to 1966.

The laboratory’s researchers cooperate with National Gallery Prague collections (curators) and expert departments (e.g. Conservation Department, depositories, Library). They also collaborate with other museums and galleries (the National Museum, the National Heritage Institute, the National Library) and specialized departments at the Czech Academy of Sciences and universities, especially the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague, the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, the Institute of Art History and the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, as well as the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien. As part of the expert assessment of an artwork’s authenticity, they also cooperate with government authorities and the Institute of Criminalistics.

The Chemical Laboratory’s researchers solve grant projects under programs of the Czech Culture and Interior Ministries and participate in other research programs carried out by the collections of the National Gallery Prague (GAČR, NAKI MK ČR).

They regularly present the outcomes of their research work in publications at home and abroad, in monographs, at international conferences and the Conference of Conservators-restorers, the largest annual meeting in the Czech Republic, which is organized by the Association of Museums and Galleries. 

The Chemical Laboratory uses the following microscopic and instrumental analytical techniques to examine artworks:

Optical microscopy
USB microscopes
Polarizing light microscope Eclipse 600 Nikon with digital camera DS-Fi2 Nikon

X-ray fluorescence analysis
Handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometer NITON XL3t GOLDD+, Thermo Scientific

Raman spectroscopy
Mobile Raman spectrometer with fiber optics iRaman Plus, BWTek, excitation laser 532 a 785 nm

Raman spectrometer Bravo, Bruker, dual laser 780-1064 nm

Dispersive Raman spectrometer with optical microscope Nicolet DXR, Thermo Scientific, excitation laser 532 a 780 nm, accessory equipment extending objective for surface analysis of artworks and fiber optics

Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy
Spectrometer ALPHA, Bruker, ATR (diamond crystal) and external reflection module

Electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy
Electron microscope with micro-analyzer JSM 6460 LA, JEOL


Ing. Radka Šefců
Head of the Chemical-technological Laboratory
Tel.: +420 773 770 063, 221 879 281

Ing. Václava Antušková
Conservation Scientist
Tel.: +420 770 164 340, 221 879 255

Ing. Martina Bajeux-Kmoníčková
Conservation Scientist
Tel.: +420 770 164 339, 221 879 255

Ing. Kateřina Hricková
Conservation Scientist
Tel.: +420 221 879 255

PhDr. Kateřina Mazačová
Tel.: +420 607 658 851, 221 879 254

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