Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Book cover

Science and Art: The Painted Surface Editors: Antonio Sgamellotti, Brunetto Giovanni Brunetti, Costanza Miliani

About this book

Science and art are increasingly interconnected in the activities of the study and conservation of works of art. Science plays a key role in cultural heritage, from developing new analytical techniques for studying the art, to investigating new ways of preserving the materials for the future. For example, high resolution multispectral examination of paintings allows art historians to view underdrawings barely visible before, while the use of non-invasive and micro-sampling analytical techniques allow scientists to identify pigments and binders that help art conservators in their work. It also allows curators to understand more about how the artwork was originally painted.

Through a series of case studies written by scientists together with art historians, archaeologists and conservators, Science and Art: The Painted Surface demonstrates how the cooperation between science and humanities can lead to an increased understanding of the history of art and to better techniques in conservation. The examples used in the book cover paintings from ancient history, Renaissance, modern, and contemporary art, belonging to the artistic expressions of world regions from the Far East to America and Europe. Topics covered include the study of polychrome surfaces from pre-Columbian and medieval manuscripts, the revelation of hidden images below the surface of Van Gogh paintings and conservation of acrylic paints in contemporary art.

Presented in an easily readable form for a large audience, the book guides readers into new areas uncovered by the link between science and art. The book features contributions from leading institutions across the globe including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Getty Conservation Institute; Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Firenze; National Gallery of London; Tate Britain; Warsaw Academy of Fine Art and the National Gallery of Denmark as well as a chapter covering the Thangka paintings by Nobel Prize winner Richard Ernst.

Book content

  • Science and Art - My Two Passions
  • Study and Laser Uncovering of Hypogean Early Christian Wall Painting of Roma’s Catacombs of Santa Tecla and Domitilla
  • Scientific Examination for the Investigation and Conservation of Far East Asian Mural Paintings
  • Maya Mural Paintings in Calakmul: Pictorial Technique and Conservation
  • The Colours of Indigenous Memory: Non-Invasive Analyses of Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican Codices
  • Material Study of the Codex Colombino
  • Unveiling the Artistic Technique of the Florentine Codex: When the Old World and The New World Met
  • Colour In Medieval Portuguese Manuscripts: Between Beauty and Meaning
  • The Wall Paintings of the Monumental Cemetery of Pisa: The War, the Restoration, the Conservation
  • The Chemistry and Chemical Investigation of the Transition from Egg Tempera Painting To Oil In Italy In The 15th Century
  • Multi-Criterial 
  • Studies of The Masterpiece ‘The Last Judgement’, A Triptych Attributed To Hans Memling, At The National Museum of Gdańsk (2010-2013)
  • Science and Conservation the Florentine O.P.D. and Raphael’s Madonna of The Goldfinch
  • Underdrawing In the Renaissance Paintings
  • An Integrated Approach To The Study and Preservation of Paintings Using Laser Light Technology
  • Diagnosis, Analysis and Cleaning
  • « Mens Agitat Molem »: New Insights into Nicolas Poussin’s Painting Technique by X-Ray Diffraction and Fluorescence Analyses
  • Japanese Painting of the Eighteen Century
  • As Time Passed By Came Sunset. Christen Købke’s View of Lake Sortedam, Its Genesis and Colour Changes
  • Examination of Vincent Van Gogh’s Paintings and Pigments by Means of State-of-The-Art Analytical Methods
  • A Vibrant Surface: Investigating Color, Texture and Transparency in Winslow Homer’s Watercolors
  • After The Fact
  • Evaluating Our Interdisciplinary Study of Mondrian’s Victory Boogie Woogie
  • Argentinean Murals: Conservation and Characterization of Pictorial Techniques
  • Material and Technical Studies of Some Paintings by Candido Portinari, A Major Brazilian Modernist Painter
  • Modern Painted Palimpsests. Deciphering the Artworks of Osvaldo Licini
  • The Burri Project: Researches for Technique and Conservation
  • John Hoyland: A British Master of Acrylic Painting
  • Outdoor Painted Surfaces in Contemporary Art
  • The Elusive and Transitory Materials in Contemporary Drawings

Buy hardback £49.99 *
* Exclusive of taxes
This book contains 644 pages.

Publication details

Print publication date: 14 Aug 2014
Copyright year: 2014
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-818-7
ePub eISBN: 978-1-78262-532-2

Author information

Antonio Sgamellotti is an Academician of Lincei and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Perugia. He is also Co-founder of the Center of Excellence SMAArt (Scientific Methodologies applied to Archaeology and Art). His research interests include advanced computations on chemistry, electronic and structural properties of molecules and inorganic materials, spectroscopic properties and characterization of archaeological and art-historical artefacts.

Brunetto Giovanni Brunetti is a Full Professor of General and Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Perugia. He is also the coordinator for the European project CHARISMA (Cultural Heritage Advanced Research Infrastructures: Synergy for a Multidisciplinary Approach to Conservation/Restoration) and President of the Center of Excellence SMAArt (Scientific Methodologies applied to Archaeology and Art).

Costanza Miliani is a researcher at the CNR Institute of Molecular Science and Technology (CNR-ISTM) and coordinator of the mobile laboratory MOLAB of the CHARISMA project. His research interests include non-invasive spectroscopic techniques for in-situ investigations on cultural heritage.