Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Van Goghing, Goghing, Goghn

(Yes,we know it's supposed to be pronounced "Fan [Cough into your hand]," but this was funnier).

Anyway, there is shocking news for lovers of Van Gogh's paintings. One of his signature colors -- a brilliant combination of chrome yellow and white -- is rapidly fading to brown. (It is summarized by io9 and the BBC, and reported in technical detail by Analytical Chemistry). Until a remedy is discovered, the paintings, and especially those famous sunflowers, must be protected from ultraviolet radiation, meaning daylight.

This will be a shock to collectors, who pay the GNP of small nations for a chance to own one of Van Gogh's paintings. It is also a cause of sadness to us at the Egg since, despite our general disdain for works of "serious" art created after 1650 -- if there are any -- we confess a tolerance for Van Gogh which, sometimes, morphs gently into affection.

The story has scientific as well as artistic interest, since an understanding of the oxidation process at work required x-ray blasts from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, which we believe -- correct us if we're wrong -- used to be Blofeld's secret headquarters.

Bottom line: those sunflowers must never again see the sunlight.

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