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Subject: Symposium on technical art history

Symposium on technical art history

From: David Dempsey <ddempsey>
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Art of the Matter: Doing Technical Art History
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts USA
26 and 27 October 2007

Friday, 26 October 2007

Keynote Address: Technical Art History
David Bomford
Associate Director for Collections
J. Paul Getty Museum
(formerly Senior Paintings Conservator, The National Gallery,

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Session 1

Session Chair:
Michele Marincola
Sherman Fairchild Chairman and Professor of
Conservation, Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts
New York University

    "Bull Leaping
    Scenes, Fortresses, and Silver Plated Ivories from Late Bronze
    Age Alalakh"

        K. Aslihan Yener
        Director, Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the
        Mustafa Kernal University Excavations to Alalakh; and
        Professor of Anatolian Archaeology, University of Chicago

    "Investigating the Polychromy and Aesthetics of Ancient Roman
    Marble Sculpture"

        Mark Abbe
        Research Fellow, Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects
        Conservation, Metropolitan Museum of Art

    "Reconstructing the Fabrication of Lorenzo Ghiberti's 'Gates of
    Paradise' from the Florence Baptistry"

        Francesca Bewer
        Associate Curator for Research, Straus Center for
        Conservation, Harvard University Art Museums

    "Investigating the Techniques of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's
    Terracotta Sculpture"

        Tony Sigel
        Conservator of Sculpture/Objects, Straus Center for
        Conservation, Harvard University Art Museums

Session 2

Session Chair:
Jilleen Nadolny
Associate Professor, Department of Conservation, IAKH
University of Oslo

    "Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych: Background, Organization
    and Results"

        Ron Spronk
        Head, Department of Art, Professor of Art History, Queen's
        University, Kingston, Ontario

    "The Role of the Reconstruction of Painting Techniques in the
    Training of Paintings Conservators in the Netherlands"

        Anne van Grevenstein
        Director, Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg, Professor
        of Conservation, University of Nijmegen

    "Archeology of Images: Form, Content, and Process in the Work of
    Julie Mehretu"

        Robin Clark
        Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Saint Louis Art

    "The Collaborative Role of Paintings Conservation in Museum
    Exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum"

        Tiarna Doherty
        Associate Conservator of Paintings, Paintings Conservation,
        J. Paul Getty Museum

    Final Summation:

        Maryan Ainsworth
        Curator of European Paintings, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Field That Is Now 'Technical Art History' began in the latter
part of the 19th century with the recognition that science is a
powerful and essential ally in understanding and evaluating works of
art. Persuading the 'scientific lion to lie down with the art
historical lamb,' to quote art historian Erwin Panofsky, has been a
difficult and often strife-ridden undertaking. In this country,
Edward Forbes introduced the concept of technical studies in fine
arts at the Fogg Museum at Harvard in 1927 and promoted imaginative
collaborations between art historians, scientists and conservators.

Since the founding of the first conservation training program on a
graduate level in 1960 at New York University, the field of Art
Conservation has matured considerably. With growing numbers of
conservators, and with increasingly sophisticated methods of
technical examination, the need to redefine and to enlarge the
interdisciplinary foundation of the field has also become apparent.

In 1995, in response to these developments, David Bomford, Senior
Restorer at the National Gallery in London, introduced the term
'Technical Art History,' which he defined as 'a wide-ranging,
inclusive evocation of the making of art and the means by which we
throw light on that process-generally, but not exclusively,
concerned with the physical materials of works of art and how they
are prepared, used and manipulated.'

Conference sponsored by the Smith College: The Project on Women and
Social Change, The Smith College Museum of Art, The Department of
Art, The Department of Chemistry, and the Office of the Provost.

Registration information and information on submitting a proposal
for a poster presentation will be available at:


David Dempsey
Associate Director for Museum Services
Smith College Museum of Art
Northampton, MA 01063 USA
Fax: 413-585-2782

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:23
                Distributed: Sunday, September 23, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-21-23-012
Received on Tuesday, 11 September, 2007

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