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Conservation for Cultural Heritage Collections: Museums, Libraries and Archives: HSAR 466

Course Overview

HSAR 466

The Technical Examination of Art

The technical examination of works of art can reveal information about the materials and techniques used in their creation and also about their subsequent history. This course will introduce the methods commonly used, working with the University Art Gallery collections and critically assess the information they provide.

This course introduces the most accessible tools for the technical examination of works of art. Through seminars focused on a single object, students will learn to interpret various techniques, from microscopy to x-radiography. They will also learn to evaluate the results of other forms of examination and analysis. After the mid-term examination students will examine art an object assigned to them from the collections of the University Art Gallery and use their observations and results of analyses to prepare a paper, integrating their findings with a discussion of the work’s style provenance and history. Students will complete the course with a greater understanding of the importance of the physical nature of an artwork and the evaluation of technical information.

Class readings

Required readings for each class will be posted on V2 Classes under HSAR 466. The images of many of the scanned articles are of poor quality and students are advised to consult the works from which the readings have been taken.

Introductory reading

Students considering taking the class might consult the following works:

Marjorie Wieseman, A Closer Look, Deceptions and Discoveries, National Gallery, London and Yale University Press, 2010

Ed. Andrew Oddy, The Art of the Conservator, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992

Reading List

Selected readings for each class are posted on V2 classes and are available as PDFs

Seeing Through Paintings, Kirsh, Levinson, Yale University Press, 2000

Scientific Investigation of Copies, Fakes and Forgeries, Paul Craddock, Butterworth- Heinemann, 2009

The Thornham Parva Retable, Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, Harvey Miller Publishers, 2003

Art and Autoradiography, Maryann Ainsworth, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982.

Early Italian Paintings: Approaches to Conservation, edited by Patricia Sherwin Garland, Yale University Art Gallery, 2003

Science in Archaeology, Praeger, 1970

History of Restoration of Ancient Stone Sculptures, papers from symposium, October 2001, J. Paul Getty Museum

Art and Technology, A Symposium on Classical Bronzes, edited by Suzannah Doeringer, David Gordon Mitten, Arthur Steinberg, Harvard University and MIT Presses, 1970.

Fake, The Art of Deception, edited by Mark Jones, The Trustees of the British Museum, 1990.

Issues in the Conservation of Paintings,  edited by David Bomford and Mark Leonard, The Getty Conservation Institute, 2004.

Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage, edited by Nicholas Stanley Price, M. Kirby Talley Jr., Alessandra Melucco Vaccaro, The Getty Conservation Institute, 1996.

Townsend, Joyce H., Toniolo, Lucia, and Cappitelli, Francesca, Conservation Science 2007, London: Archetype Publications Ltd., 2008.

Bomford, David and Leonard, Mark, Issues in the Conservation of Paintings, Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 2004.

Hedley, Gerry. Measured Opinions, London: United Kingdom Institute for Conservation, 1993.

Mills, John S. and White, Raymond, The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, London: Butterworth-Heinemann, Ltd., 1994.

Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, Volume 45, Number 1, 2006.

Postprints of the Image Re-integration Conference, Brown, A. Jean E., ed., Newcastle Upon Tyne: Northumbria University, 2007.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art and Autoradiography: Insights into the Genesis of Paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer, New York, 1982.

Bulletin of the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge. Number 2, 1994.