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Radiation evident in linseed oil?

Mick mick___ at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 20 10:02:16 EST 2002


I'm trying to find out about some purported facts which were in
tonight's plot on Law and Order: Criminal Intent (this is in
Australia, BTW - I don't know what lag we have on episodes). Any help
will be appreciated.

The plot involved art forgery and the detection of it, as part of a
murder investigation. Supposedly, various artists making their own
paints use linseed oil as the base; if you wanted to forge such an
artist's work you'd have to do the same. In CI tonight it was stated
that even where this is done there is still a way to detect forgeries
of paintings pre-1945. The idea is that the radiation from Hiroshima
and other sources since then has left a noticeable trace in all
organic matter so linseed oil manufactured recently is quite easily
distinguished from linseed oil manufactured in the 1800s, for
instance. If your Monet turns out to have been painted with paint
partly composed of linseed oil manufactured post-1945, your Monet
ain't a Monet.

Okay, I'm trying to find out if this is accurate or not. Has there
been an increase in radiation of enough significance (or perhaps of a
specific type) that would make recently manufactured linseed oil
noticeably different to linseed oil made pre-1945? If you're unsure of
the radiation change - does it make sense that the oil would be
noticeably different if we accept that hypothesised radiation change?


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