National Gallery of Art - RESOURCES

Advanced Training Fellowship in Imaging Science of Works of Art

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, with support from the Samuel H. Kress and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundations, is offering a three-year advanced training fellowship in imaging science applied to the study of works of art. The fellowship includes an annual stipend and allowances for research-related travel. The stipend is commensurate with the candidate's education and experience. The fellow will work in the Scientific Research Department, Conservation Division, under the guidance of the Senior Imaging Scientist and is expected to collaborate with the Gallery’s scientists, conservators, and curators.

Research Program

The Gallery is developing and optimizing imaging based in-situ (non-invasive) tools to help address questions of material identification and construction methods in works of art. The spectral range and technologies being investigated are large and include:

  • High spatial resolution hyperspectral and multispectral infrared imaging of paintings to improve the visualizing of preparatory sketches and compositional paint changes. See “Visible and infrared reflectance imaging spectroscopy of paintings: pigment mapping and improved infrared reflectography,” Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology II, Proceedings of the SPIE 7391 (2009), 739103-739103-8.

  • Reflectance and luminescence imaging spectroscopy in the visible to infrared to help in identifying and mapping artist pigments and materials such as binders. See “Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectroscopy of Picasso's Harlequin Musician: Mapping and Identification of Artist Materials in Situ,” Applied Spectroscopy 64 (2010), 6, 584.

  • Spectral and spatial image processing algorithms. See “Towards Automatic Registration,” Computer Vision and Image Analysis of Art II, Proceedings of the SPIE 7869 (2011).

The results of these techniques are being evaluated by comparison to results obtained from more traditional analytical methods carried out by scientists in the Gallery’s well-equipped scientific research department. This work is being done in collaboration with researchers at academic institutions and other research laboratories such as those at George Washington University. The Gallery has several high-performance visible and infrared multispectral and scanning hyperspectral cameras, a 2-D scanner, a diffuse reflectance visible to infrared fiber optic spectrometer, as well as transmission and luminescence spectrometers.


The fellow will receive training in the areas of visible and infrared imaging spectroscopy and its application to art conservation. He or she will also receive training in visible and infrared imaging and spectral image processing. The fellow will also have opportunities to work on research projects with conservation scientists and conservators using these methods to further his or her knowledge and skill level.

Responsibilites of the Fellow

The fellow will help in the design, construction, and testing of instrumentation and in developing analytical procedures and tools. The fellow will produce written reports, present research results at the department level as well as at scientific and conservation meetings, and publish at least one paper in a scholarly scientific journal.


Candidates should have a graduate degree in one of the physical sciences, or equivalent training with a specialization in at least one of these three areas: reflectance, luminescence, or vibrational spectroscopy. The degree must have been obtained within the last five years. Candidates must be familiar with relevant scientific methods and instrumentation associated with digital imaging and spectroscopy. A strong interest in art conservation and image science is required and previous experience in art conservation is desirable. English-language skills and a proven record of research and writing ability are required. Fellowships are awarded without regard to age, sex, nationality, or race. Finalists who are not United States citizens must provide proof of their own health insurance coverage before starting the position.


Prospective applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, a current CV, and a graduate-school transcript. Candidates should also submit a letter expressing why they are interested in the position and how their unique background makes them suitable for the fellowship. Candidates should indicate clearly in the cover letter that they are applying for the Kress/Mellon Advanced Training Fellowship. All applications must be submitted by February 1, 2012. Selection of a candidate is expected to be made by March 1, 2012.

Applications should be addressed to:

Michael Skalka, Conservation Administrator
Conservation Division, DCL
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, Maryland 20785