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Release Date: July 22, 2015

Facture, National Gallery of Art's Conservation Journal, Features New Research on Works by Giotto, Marin, Rodin, Rothko, Warhol, and More

Facture: Conservation, Science, Art History, Volume 2: Art in Context, edited by Daphne Barbour, senior object conservator and E. Melanie Gifford, research conservator for paintings technology at the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Facture: Conservation, Science, Art History, Volume 2: Art in Context, edited by Daphne Barbour, senior object conservator and E. Melanie Gifford, research conservator for paintings technology at the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Washington, DC—The second volume of Facture, an interdisciplinary biennial journal published by the National Gallery of Art, is now available. Featuring seven essays, the volume continues the dialogue begun by the series' inaugural issue (published in 2013) among art historians, scientists, and conservators to provide new perspectives on well-known works of art in the Gallery's collection. Focusing on two art historical moments—the Italian Renaissance and the 20th century—the essays in the new issue place great works of art in a broader historical perspective.

Giotto's Madonna and Child

A technical study by Joanna R. Dunn, Barbara H. Berrie, John K. Delaney, and Lisha Deming Glinsman, of Giotto's Madonna and Child (c. 1310/1315) situates the painting in the context of the artist's surviving oeuvre. The work shares intriguing technical similarities with three other panels by Giotto, and new evidence suggests that these works were originally part of a much larger altarpiece. Giotto's use of previously unrecognized materials may offer further evidence linking the paintings.

Riccio's Entombment

Dylan Smith's essay considers an autograph bronze relief by Riccio, The Entombment (1516/1520s). In this first extensive technical study of Riccio's reliefs, Smith considers the Gallery's relief in the context of 36 other dated and documented reliefs by the artist. His conclusions challenge previous proposals on the origins of The Entombment and offer new dates for the relief, revising the current understanding of its place in Riccio's oeuvre.

Rodin's Bronzes

This study of bronze sculptures by Rodin focuses on the Simpson Collection at the Gallery. Daphne Barbour and Glinsman consider only works cast during the artist's lifetime under his supervision. Combining archival research and technical analysis of seven bronzes, their article explores Rodin's close creative exchange with his primary bronze founder and patinator.

John Marin's Watercolors

Cyntia Karnes, Delaney, and Glinsman draw on a wealth of contemporary documentation and extensive technical study to demonstrate that Marin employed a very restricted palette early in his career, using just three primary colors recommended by old-fashioned color theory. The authors show that Marin's later exposure to new ideas in Paris and in the New York circle of Alfred Steiglitz encouraged a dramatic expansion of his range of pigments.

Rothko's "Multiforms"

Alison Langley and Suzanne Quillen Lomax explore Mark Rothko's pivotal early works, known as multiforms. Their detailed analysis of the multiforms in comparison to Rothko's later works reveals not only the birth of Rothko's abstraction but also his creative experiments with paint that presage the enigmatic paint surfaces of his mature work.

In Focus: Andy Warhol and Bernardino Luini

Two shorter "In Focus" contributions arose from unique opportunities for technical study. The exhibition Warhol: Headlines, on view at the Gallery from September 23, 2012, through January 27, 2013, allowed researchers to compare Warhol paintings in the Gallery's collection with a number of works from outside lenders. Authors Molly Donovan, Jay Krueger, Lomax, and Christopher Maines reveal previously unrecognized experimentation in Warhol's choice of paint medium during the transition between his early work as a commercial artist and the pop art for which he is best known today.

A second "In Focus" essay by Michael Swicklick, Gretchen Hirschauer, and Berrie stems from research carried out in conjunction with a major conservation treatment of Bernardino Luini's Portrait of a Lady (1520/1525). Costume history revealed the restrained opulence of the lady's garments, technical analysis illuminated the painter's refined handling, and conservation treatment uncovered Luini's subtle modulations of black on black.

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Laurie Tylec
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