MoMA's website on preserving the masterpiece
is accessed in the window above, which details the process of conservation
while explaining the background of one of Picasso's most famous
pieces. (If window fails to open or doesn't display, you might have
to refresh your page a couple times or click
here to open the site in a separate window...)
Here a thorough knowledge of the chemical compostions of materials
such as paint, waxes, varnishes, canvas, and supports comes into
play, and how they age and react together over the years. And it's
not just traditional chemistry that the museum relies on either;
check out the link to"Analysis & Previous Treatments."
Ultraviolet (UV) illumination, X-radiography, X-ray Fluorescence
Spectroscopy (XRF), and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
(FTIR) are part of the arsenal of high-tech tools employed to examine
paintings to discover previous areas of retouching, changes artists
made while working on their paintings, and identification of the
constituents of the pigments used.
The examination and subsequent plan of action to conserve the painting
is detailed in "Treatment 2003/04." When dealing with
a work such as this that is probably valued at many millions of
dollars, only those with long experience in the conservator's field
would be allowed to even touch it, say nothing of actually work
on it in either removing or adding materials! (In fact, as a side
note, dusting is the only operation an unskilled person should do
to a painting, and then only using a soft Japanese paste brush or
other soft, high-quality brush - feather dusters are too abrasive!
Associates, Inc., FAQ's - http://www.conservartassoc.com/faqs.html].)
Undergraduate prerequisites for admission into a conservation training
program include a broad base of humanities and the fine arts and
a solid foundation in the sciences. The American Institute for Conservation
of Historic & Artistic Works (http://aic.stanford.edu/education/becoming/ugrad.html)
lists the recommended studies:
One full year each of general and organic chemistry with
laboratory work is typically required. These courses
should usually be freshman and sophomore level requirements for
chemistry and biology majors. Supplemental studies recommended,
but not always required, often include biology, biochemistry,
geology, materials science, physics, and mathematics.
As can be seen, chemistry, even though it may be taken for granted
because of its seamless integration into the artistic process, plays
a crucial role in the direction and final results of the creator's
efforts. Without a basic understanding of the nature and physical
properties of materials being used, and a knowledge of physical
phenomena (such as how light refracts into the various colors, and
how the colors relate to each other), the artist is literally working
in the dark.
for a summary of health and warning labels likely seen on art products,
or go to art products labels.