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Friday, June 1 • 8:30am - 9:00am
(Research and Technical Studies + Wooden Artifacts) All that Glitters: Visualizing and Characterizing Gold Leaf through Macro-XRF Scanning

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The application of gold leaf is ubiquitous in late medieval painting, but our knowledge of how it was applied is based largely on historical treatises and modern practice. Analytical techniques traditionally applied to the study of historic works of art, such as X-radiography and point-analysis x-ray fluorescence (XRF), identify only the presence and elemental composition of the metal leaf at a single point, respectively. MA-XRF scanning has opened up a new avenue of research into the study of gilding materials and techniques by providing unprecedented new insight into visualizing the dimensions of individual gold leaves, differences in how the leaf was applied by various artists and workshops, and the variability of gold leaf alloy compositions available. In addition to elucidating the original artistic creative process, MA-XRF can identify and map restoration interventions using gold leaf, thereby providing new documentation of historic conservation or restoration efforts. Statistical measurement of the dimensions of individual gold leaves provides a new tool for supporting or refuting links between separated components of altarpieces. This poster presents the results of studies from a number of paintings and manuscript illuminations that demonstrate the ability of MA-XRF to elucidate new information about the composition of metal leaf, its application, and its past conservation.

avatar for Douglas MacLennan

Douglas MacLennan

Assistant Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Douglas MacLennan is an Assistant Scientist in the technical studies research group at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). His work focuses on the technical examination of a variety of works of art in collaboration with both conservators and curators. His research interests include... Read More →

avatar for Nathan Daly

Nathan Daly

Postdoctoral Fellow, Getty Conservation Institute
avatar for Arlen Heginbotham

Arlen Heginbotham

Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, J. Paul Getty Museum
Arlen Heginbotham received his A.B. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and his M.A. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College. He is currently Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Arlen’s research interests include the history... Read More →
avatar for Lynn Lee

Lynn Lee

Assistant Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Lynn Lee received her PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California Berkeley. Her current areas of research include the study of traditional—especially those used in antiquities—and modern artist materials and techniques using non- or minimally invasive analytical... Read More →
avatar for Catherine Schmidt Patterson

Catherine Schmidt Patterson

Associate Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Catherine Schmidt Patterson received her PhD in physical chemistry at Northwestern University. Her primary areas of research are the use of non- or minimally invasive techniques such as Raman microspectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, technical imaging to study works of art... Read More →
avatar for Yvonne Szafran

Yvonne Szafran

Senior Conservator, J Paul Getty Museum
avatar for Karen Trentelman

Karen Trentelman

Senior Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Karen Trentelman is head of Technical Studies research, which focuses on the scientific study of works of art to further the understanding and preservation of these works in collaboration with conservators and curators. Current areas of interest include: revealing hidden layers in paintings and manuscripts using noninvasive spectro... Read More →
avatar for Nancy Turner

Nancy Turner

Conservator, J. Paul Getty Museum

Friday June 1, 2018 8:30am - 9:00am MDT
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston
  6. Specialty Session, Research and Technical Studies, Wooden Artifacts