Technical Studies

The GCI undertakes analytical studies on individual works of art, or decorative finishes at sites, to answer questions related to an artist's materials and techniques, workshop practice, attribution/provenance, and other conservation issues, such how materials might have altered or degraded with age, and the compatibility of treatment methods. Our work in this area is often developed in response to inquiries from conservators or curators from the Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute about works in their collections or loan objects.

Projects vary widely in size and scope and emphasis is given to projects that benefit the conservation field more broadly. Research that begins with the study of objects is often leveraged to be part of a wider collaborative project. Similarly, research into less-studied materials or artists can provide a foundation for new avenues of research. Some projects may look at a broad class of objects in order to elucidate historic technologies; others may look at a particular school of artists working at the same time; and others may focus on a particular material to better understand its properties or use, or to identify ways of assessing geographic provenance.

Technical studies are conducted using the extensive range of analytical instrumentation available at the GCI, with an emphasis placed on using noninvasive analytical techniques (such as X-ray fluorescence and Raman spectroscopies), although techniques requiring removal of minimal amounts of material (such as cross-sections and Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy) are also routinely used.

Current projects include:

Art in L.A.
Athenian Pottery Project
Concrete Art in Argentina and Brazil
DISCO: Data Integration for Conservation Science
Laser Mass Spectroscopy for Cultural Heritage
Researching Florentine Workshop Practice
XRF Boot Camp for Conservators

Page updated: October 2016