Conservation and Technical Studies

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Description: Ancient Bronzes through a Modern Lens: Introductory Essays on the Study of Ancient...
This publication brings together prominent art historians, conservators, and scientists to discuss fresh approaches to the study of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern works of bronze. Featuring significant bronzes from the Harvard Art Museums’ holdings as well as other museum collections, the volume’s eight essays present technical and formal analyses in a format that will be useful for both general readers and students of ancient art. The text provides an overview of ancient manufacturing processes as well as modern methods of scientific examination, and it focuses on objects as diverse as large-scale statuary and more utilitarian armor, vessels, and lamps. Filling a current gap in the art historical literature, this book offers a much-needed, accessible introduction to ancient bronzes.

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Author
Print publication date November 2014 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300207798
EISBN 9780300236842
Illustrations 113 Illus.
Print Status in print
Description: The Art of Impressionism: Painting Technique & the Making of Modernity
This important book is the first full-scale exploration of Impressionist technique. Focusing on the easel-painted work of Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne, Cassatt, Morisot, Caillebotte, Sisley, and Degas in the period before 1900, it places their methods and materials in a historical perspective and evaluates their origins, novelty, and meanings within the visual formation of urban modernity.

Drawing on scientific studies of pigments and materials, artists’ treatises, colormens’ archives, and contemporary and modern accounts, Anthea Callen demonstrates how raw materials and paintings are profoundly interdependent. She analyzes the material constituents of oil painting and the complex processes of “making” entailed in all aspects of artistic production, discussing in particular oil painting methods for landscapists and the impact of plein air light on figure painting, studio practice, and display. Insisting that the meanings of paintings are constituted by and within the cultural matrices that produced them, Callen argues that the real “modernity” of the Impressionist enterprise lies in the painters’ material practices. Bold brushwork, unpolished, sketchy surfaces, and bright, “primitive” colors were combined with their subject matter—the effects of light, the individual sensation made visible—to establish the modern as visual.

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Print publication date December 2000 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300084023
EISBN 9780300238136
Illustrations 281 Illus.
Print Status out of print
Description: The Art of Paper: From the Holy Land to the Americas
In the late medieval and Renaissance period, paper transformed society—not only through its role in the invention of print but also in the way it influenced artistic production. The Art of Paper tells the history of this medium in the context of the artist’s workshop from the thirteenth century, when it was imported to Europe from Africa, to the sixteenth century, when European paper was exported to the colonies of New Spain. In this pathbreaking work, Caroline Fowler approaches the topic culturally rather than technically, deftly exploring the way paper shaped concepts of authorship, preservation, and the transmission of ideas during this period. This book both tells a transcultural history of paper from the Cairo Genizah to the Mesoamerican manuscript and examines how paper became “Europeanized” through the various mechanisms of the watermark, colonization, and the philosophy of John Locke. Ultimately, Fowler demonstrates how paper—as refuse and rags transformed into white surface—informed the works for which it was used, as well as artists’ thinking more broadly, across the early modern world.

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Print publication date November 2019 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300246025
EISBN 9780300257267
Illustrations 113
Print Status in print
Description: The Art of the Edge: European Frames 1300–1900
This essential guide features individual entries of exceptional frames from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. An essay by Steven Starling charts the development and stylistic history of frames, referencing examples included in the catalogue. Additionally, Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset's foundational essay illuminates the large, broader conceptual issues associated with the subject. The book includes a glossary of terms and an extensive, interdisciplinary bibliography.
Print publication date January 1986 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780865590625
EISBN 9780300234008
Illustrations 112 illus.
Print Status out of print
Description: Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné
Barnett Newman (1905–1970), one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, has captivated critics, scholars, and the general public for decades. This definitive catalogue raisonné presents Newman’s entire oeuvre—paintings, drawings, sculpture, graphics, an architectural model, lost and unfinished works, and ephemera. Featured elements include color reproductions; extensive provenance, exhibition, and publication histories; and a listing of the contents of the artist’s library at the time of his death.

In addition to the catalogue raisonné prepared by Heidi Colsman-Freyberger, the book offers revelatory essays on the artist, his career, and his working methods and features fascinating photographs of Newman, his studios, and his installations. Richard Shiff draws on new documentation to explain why Newman chose to create abstract art, how he achieved “fullness” in his paintings, and how his works exemplify the social functions of an artist. Carol C. Mancusi-Ungaro reveals extraordinary details about Newman’s studio practice and materials and techniques, information not available to the public before because Newman only allowed his wife to observe him at work. Mancusi-Ungaro also discusses the fate of works that were damaged while traveling to exhibitions or by vandals.

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Print publication date October 2004 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300101678
EISBN 9780300259780
Illustrations 451
Print Status out of print
Description: Conservation at the Art Institute of Chicago
This fascinating volume explores how research, craft, and technology are united in the Art Institute of Chicago’s mission to preserve its collection and further art-historical knowledge. Addressing the many challenges conservators face, the publication highlights their work on objects from throughout the museum, including books, furniture, electronic media, paintings, photographs, posters, sculpture, and textiles.

An introductory essay traces the development of the profession and its specific history at the Art Institute. Case studies written by the museum’s conservators and curators examine diverse works ranging from an ancient Egyptian statue of Osiris to Bruce Nauman’s video Clown Torture. The authors explore how they determine appropriate treatment, uncover an artist’s intentions and techniques, and employ pathbreaking new technologies.

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Print publication date January 2006 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300113426
EISBN 9780300235807
Illustrations 159 Illus.
Print Status out of print
Description: Early Chinese Jades in the Harvard Art Museums
From personal ornamentation to funerary practice, from palace decoration to private devotion, jade has played a major role in Chinese social, cultural, and political life for millennia. Exploring the history of this revered stone through the esteemed Grenville L. Winthrop Collection at the Harvard Art Museums—which includes some of the finest examples of ancient and archaizing jades outside China—this volume explains how and why jade developed its special significance. In-depth entries on over one hundred objects present recent archaeological discoveries and new information garnered from conservation analysis, while Jenny So’s broad and engaging narrative not only elucidates the layered meanings of the objects and their iconography but also delves into the unique qualities of the material and the craftsmanship involved in quarrying and working jade.

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Print publication date March 2019 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300237023
EISBN 9780300247794
Illustrations 283
Print Status in print
Description: Facture: Conservation Science Art History Volume 2: Art in Context
Facture presents the latest conservation research on masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, spanning the early Renaissance through the present and encompassing a range of media.  Volume 2 examines great art of two very different eras—the Italian Renaissance and the 20th century—and puts in new contexts works such as Giotto’s  Madonna and Child,  bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin, watercolors by John Marin, early paintings by Andy Warhol, and  Mark Rothko’s multiforms, which mark the birth of his abstraction.  Seven essays are illustrated with outstandingly detailed photography and share a common approach. They each begin with meticulous material and analytical study of the work and then place the findings in a broader historical context, providing new perspectives on well-known works.  A fascinating contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship on art, this publication extends a tradition of fostering dialogue among art historians, scientists, and conservators in the international community.


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Author
Print publication date September 2015 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300217087
EISBN 9780300256994
Illustrations 116
Print Status in print
Description: Facture: Conservation Science Art History Volume 3: Degas
This volume of Facture, a biennial journal that presents the latest conservation research on works of art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, focuses exclusively on conservation treatment, technical art history, and scientific research related to masterpieces by the beloved French artist Edgar Degas (1834–1917).  The National Gallery’s extraordinary collection of sculptures, paintings, and works on paper by Degas, including an incomparable group of his wax sculptures—among them his iconic Little Dancer Aged Fourteen—allows the institution to contribute significantly to understanding the artist’s methods and intentions. This volume features discussions of the notion of “finish” in Degas’s paintings, the complex makeup of his wax sculptures, the casting of posthumous bronzes, his innovative use of multiple layers of pastel and fixative in a late work on paper, and even a sonnet that Degas wrote to his “little dancer.”
Author
Print publication date August 2017 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300230116
EISBN 9780300257540
Illustrations 149
Print Status in print
Description: Facture: Conservation Science Art History Volume 4: Series, Multiples, Replicas
Volume 4 of the National Gallery of Art’s biennial conservation research journal Facture examines the complex themes of series, multiples, and replicas. With a broad historical purview that spans from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, this publication considers various modes of replication—by the artist’s own hand or workshop, as a posthumous creation, or as a preferred practice—and their motivations. Drawing on new research into materials and techniques, nine essays focus on works in diverse media by artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Auguste Rodin, and Robert Rauschenberg and present intriguing conclusions about the nature of serialization and the relationships among multiple versions of a composition. Filled with detailed photographs and fresh discoveries, this volume provides exceptional insight into these extraordinary works of art and offers the possibility of exciting new avenues of inquiry.

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Print publication date January 2020 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300247619
EISBN 9780300257557
Illustrations 199
Print Status in print
Description: Facture: Conservation Science Art History Volume 1: Renaissance Masterworks
With this volume, the National Gallery of Art introduces a journal presenting the latest conservation research on works in its collection. Named for “the manner in which things are made,” Facture addresses aspects of conservation from treatment and technical art history to scientific research.

The inaugural volume focuses on great works of the Renaissance, studying sculpture, painting, and drawing from various points of view. With the publication of this biennial journal, the National Gallery maintains a tradition of fostering dialogue among art historians, scientists, and conservators working in the international museum community.


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Author
Print publication date October 2013 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300197426
EISBN 9780300256987
Illustrations 190
Print Status in print
Description: Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World
Like the printing press, typewriter, and computer, paper has been a crucial agent for the dissemination of information. This engaging book presents an important new chapter in paper’s history: how its use in Islamic lands during the Middle Ages influenced almost every aspect of medieval life. Focusing on the spread of paper from the early eighth century, when Muslims in West Asia acquired Chinese knowledge of paper and papermaking, to five centuries later, when they transmitted this knowledge to Christians in Spain and Sicily, the book reveals how paper utterly transformed the passing of knowledge and served as a bridge between cultures.

Jonathan Bloom traces the earliest history of paper—how it was invented in China over 2,000 years ago, how it entered the Islamic lands of West Asia and North Africa, and how it spread to northern Europe. He explores the impact of paper on the development of writing, books, mathematics, music, art, architecture, and even cooking. And he discusses why Europe was so quick to adopt paper from the Islamic lands and why the Islamic lands were so slow to accept printing in return. Together the text and illustrations (of papermaking techniques and the many uses to which paper was put) give new luster and importance to a now-humble material.

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Print publication date October 2001 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300089554
EISBN 9780300257731
Illustrations 103
Print Status in print
Description: The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World
Andrew Moore (Editor), Nathan Flis (Editor), Francesca Vanke (Editor)
The Paston Treasure, a spectacular painting from the 1660s now held at Norwich Castle Museum, depicts a wealth of objects from the collection of a local landed family. This deeply researched volume uses the painting as a portal to the history of the collection, exploring the objects, their context, and the wider world they occupied.  Drawing on an impressive range of fields, including history of art and collections, technical art history, musicology, history of science, and the social and cultural history of the 17th century, the book weaves together narratives of the family and their possessions, as well as the institutions that eventually acquired them.  Essays, vignettes, and catalogue entries comprise this multidisciplinary exposition, uniting objects depicted in the painting for the first time in nearly 300 years.
Author
Andrew Moore (Editor), Nathan Flis (Editor), Francesca Vanke (Editor)
Print publication date April 2018 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300232905
EISBN 9780300263473
Illustrations 485
Print Status in print
Description: The Power of Color: Five Centuries of European Painting
"This book would make an excellent addition to art history curricula, especially those built to expand students’ interest and knowledge into materials and process. . . . The extensive notes and bibliography will provide specialists with avenues for additional and deeper research."—L. L. Kriner, Berea College

This expansive study of color illuminates the substance, context, and meaning of five centuries of European painting. Between the mid-fifteenth and the mid-nineteenth centuries, the materials of painting remained remarkably unchanged, but innovations in their use flourished. Technical discoveries facilitated new visual effects, political conditions prompted innovations, and economic changes shaped artists’ strategies, especially as trade became global.

Marcia Hall explores how Michelangelo radically broke with his contemporaries’ harmonizing use of color in favor of a highly saturated approach; how the robust art market and demand for affordable pictures in seventeenth-century Netherlands helped popularize subtly colored landscape paintings; how politics and color became entangled during the French Revolution; and how modern artists liberated color from representation as their own role transformed from manipulators of pigments to visionaries celebrated for their individual expression. Using insights from recent conservation studies, Hall captivates readers with fascinating details and developments in magnificent examples—from Botticelli and Titian to Van Gogh and Kandinsky—to weave an engaging analysis. Her insistence on the importance of examining technique and material to understand artistic meaning gives readers the tools to look at these paintings with fresh eyes.

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Print publication date May 2019 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300237191
EISBN 9780300259728
Illustrations 212
Print Status in print
Description: Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies
This clear and accessible handbook introduces the nonspecialist to the physical examination of easel paintings and the historical and critical implications of such study. It takes the reader through the various layers of paintings, from support to varnish, and looks at information that might be attached to a painting’s reverse, as well as the physical circumstances of its display. The authors demonstrate how this knowledge contributes to a wide range of historical and critical approaches, including iconography, regional and colonial studies, examination of artistic intent, interactions among artistic schools, and the history of collecting and exhibition.

The book offers the only comprehensive discussion available on materials, techniques, and condition issues in Western easel paintings from medieval times to the present. It includes detailed case studies of 25 paintings by artists from Giotto and Leonardo to Vermeer, Degas, and Pollock. The book is aimed to benefit beginning or advanced students of art history and their teachers, as well as painters, collectors, museum docents, and conservators.
Print publication date April 2000 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300080469
EISBN 9780300230024
Illustrations 268
Print Status in print