Introduction: Using Science to Shed New Light on Art*
September 10, 2014
This session will introduce the distinguishing properties of materials, including minerals, metals, ceramics, glass, and biomaterials. Participants will learn how Walters staff use light—both visible and non-visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum—to identify the materials and processes of artistic production. Participants will explore scientific instrumentation, including techniques to identify chemical elements, compounds, and mixtures.
Case studies involving ancient Egyptian artifacts and the Archimedes Palimpsest will highlight discoveries achieved through scientific examination.
*Attendance at the Introductory session is mandatory for admittance to additional STEM to STEAM workshops.
Ancient: How Old Is It?
October 22, 2014
Determining the date of an object is a complex process. Any investigation must combine art historical knowledge about style and function and scientific knowledge about materials and techniques of manufacture. In some cases, as with ceramics and wood, scientific techniques can be used to determine the date of manufacture. More often, such findings are not as straightforward.
In this session we will use case studies from both the ancient Mediterranean world and the New World to illustrate how science and technology can be used to answer questions concerning the dating and authenticity of an artwork.
Medieval and Renaissance: What Is a Fake?
November 19, 2014
Using technical studies of works in the Walters collection, participants will attempt to answer the question, What is a fake? Conservators, conservation scientists, and curators study works of art from different perspectives. When their observations are focused on a single work of art, many questions can be answered, but others—often concerning authenticity and dating—can also surface.
This session will use case studies with terracotta, ivory, and enameled objects to reveal some of the questions that have been asked and the techniques used to answer them.
Italian Paintings: Is It “Real?”
December 10, 2014
Using examples from the paintings collection, participants will focus on distinguishing the characteristics of a “real” Renaissance work from a forgery. While an image from the 14th to the 17th century might appear characteristic of the period, the materials that produced that image might actually be from a later era. Participants will learn how conservators analyze the materials and specific details in a painting to detect clues that lead to the discovery of fakes.