Science: Artists' Methods and Materials

bocour burnt sienna

Research on the materials and techniques of works of art seeks to identify the materials used by artists and to understand the ways in which artists handled these materials. While this research often conjures up images of authentication or the exposure of forgeries, most research centers on two issues. One line of inquiry supports conservation treatments by distinguishing between the artist's original work and any alterations introduced by later restorers or by the aging process. Another area of research furthers art-historical studies by tracing the artist's decision-making process, revealed by changes to the work of art made by the artist during its creation or by choices of novel materials and techniques.

Publications

Projects

Project Overview

Illuminated Manuscripts

16th-Century Renaissance Pigments and Painting Techniques

Effects of Light Exposure

John Constable

An Entrance to the Paris Métropolitain

Up Close: Raphael's The Prophets Hosea and Jonah

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

Temperature and Humidity

Hinge-Free Mounting

Art-Science: Renaissance Illuminations

Pablo Picasso, The Tragedy

Contact

National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
dcl@nga.gov