We can only attempt to imagine what these looked like from some detailed literary descriptions and vase-paintings that appear to echo their compositions.
Panel painting is very old; it was a very prestigious medium in Greece and Rome, but only very few examples of ancient panel paintings have survived.
A series of 6th century BC painted tablets from Pitsa (Greece) represent the oldest surviving Greek panel paintings.
Unfortunately there are no affordable direct methods for dating pigments, except in some cases as we will see later.
Generally, for example, we can’t establish when a vermilion stroke was brushed onto a painting, but we can date most of the materials that the pigments are painted on.
This is the first time it has been possible to identify a fake painting by relying on the anomalous behaviour of the concentration of the radioactive form of carbon (14C) in the atmosphere after 1955 to date the canvas.
These findings were recently published in EPJ Plus by Mariaelenea Fedi of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Florence, Italy, and colleagues.
Much of the most important information about a painting is hiding in the back of the painting.
That’s right, not all of the answers about a painting are on the front.
This approach definitely proved that the canvas sample contains a level of radioactive carbon found in 1959, years after Léger's death in 1955.