Conservation Projects

Illuminated Manuscripts

What are illuminated manuscripts? How are they made? Explore under the microscope the exquisite detail of these luminous paintings on animal skin. Learn how we treat, store and display illuminated leaves so you and generations to come can enjoy their wonder.

16th-Century Renaissance Pigments and Painting Techniques

Discover the pigments used by Giorgione and Bellini and see the structure of paintings on a microscopic level.

Effects of Light Exposure

Light is a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum to which the eye is sensitive. Its presence is essential for the most rewarding perception of almost all art. Yet exposure to light can result in cumulative and permanent damage to light-sensitive objects.

John Constable

John Constable (1776–1837) created landscapes that ranged from sketches with broad, loose strokes to highly polished and tightly rendered finished paintings.

An Entrance to the Paris Métropolitain

The treatment of outdoor works of art requires careful thought about the way an object can be safely preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. Past treatments and the environment where the object will be displayed play a role in planning a successful conservation treatment. See how An Entrance to the Paris Métropolitain was carefully cleaned and restored.

Up Close: Raphael's The Prophets Hosea and Jonah

Look closely at an early 16th-century drawing by Raphael and learn how the artist constructed his masterwork.

A Closer Look at a 15th-Century Florentine Terracotta Madonna and Child

See how the treatment of a 15th-century polychrome Madonna and Child was accomplished in the object conservation laboratory.

Temperature and Humidity

Most organic materials absorb and release moisture as the humidity within its surrounding environment increases and decreases. This fluctuation of moisture can accelerate the degradation of objects sensitive to humidity. Potential problems from extreme variations in temperature and relative humidity include biological, chemical, and mechanical deterioration.  Click on the image to view the complete article.

Hinge-Free Mounting

Learn how to mount prints, drawings or photographs into a mat without applying adhesives or tapes directly to the artwork.

Art and Science: Renaissance Illuminations

Explore how imaging is used to examine a choir book commissioned by the Camaldolese monks of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence at the end of the 14th century.

Pablo Picasso, The Tragedy

Picasso (1881–1973) often left visual clues on the surfaces of his paintings to suggest a hidden image underneath, as in The Tragedy (1903). Artists frequently make changes to a painting or reuse a canvas or panel with an image already painted on it. Explore this painting further to see how it reveals its secrets.