MATERIALS

JULIE ARSLANOGLU

Research Scientist 

Department of Scientific Research

Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, NY, USA 

Julie Arslanoglu is a Research Scientist at the Met. She investigates paints, coatings, adhesives, and the organic materials found in artworks across all ages using spectroscopy (FTIR), mass-spectrometric (GC/MS, Py-GC/MS. MALDI, LCMS) and immunological techniques (ELISA), with emphasis on natural and synthetic polymer identification and degradation. Her research interests include interactions between pigments and binders, especially proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, and their mixtures.

Title of Presentation: Why Antibodies for Art Analysis?

Abstract: Materials from animal and plant sources (biological materials) have been used by artists to create all forms of artworks throughout time. The challenge to cultural heritage scientists is to provide meaningful and accurate information to curators, art historians, and conservators about the fats, lipids, gums, and proteins that are chemically changed by pigments and binder interactions. Antibodies offer one avenue for the investigation of proteins and polysaccharides. This presentation will describe the pros, cons, and future of this approach.

ELISA - Basics
ELISA Protocol
Add'l Pre-Meeting Materials
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BARBARA BERRIE

Head of Scientific Research

National Gallery of Art

Washington, DC, USA

Dr. Barbara Berrie’s work has focused on artists’ materials and methods. Her publications are varied and reflect her wide range of interests and responsibilities. She is particularly interested in painters’ materials and methods, and investigates artists use of color through the lens of scientific analysis.

 

Title of Presentation: Proteins: Building Blocks of Art

 

Abstract: Artists and artisans have used proteinaceous materials in their artmaking forever. Characterization of these using only small samples was challenging; however, in the past few decades there have been major advances in analytical methods that will be reviewed. These developments fostered the field of proteomics. Recent proteomics (and allied –omics) allow us to begin to ask, and answer, detailed questions about the use of organic materials in trades associated with artmaking and their role in creating works of art. The information gained through proteomics gives insight into artistic and technical skill, and technological know-how. Our understanding of protein reactions has increased in sophistication and it is interesting to read treatises and examine works in light of the increase in our knowledge of protein chemistry. Application of proteomics also potentially offers advances in our approaches to preservation and appropriate conservation of ancient and contemporary works that contain proteins.

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Additional Pre-Meeting Materials
 

ILARIA BONADUCE

Associate Professor

Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry

University of Pisa

Pisa, ITALY

 

Ilaria Bonaduce received her Ph.D. in Chemical Science in 2006. Her research focuses on the development and implementation of analytical methods and models for characterizing organic materials in paint and archaeological polychrome artifacts, and on the study of modifications undergone by organic materials as an effect of pretreatments, aging and interaction with other organic materials.

 

SHEILA CANBY

Birch Curator in Charge

Department of Islamic Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, NY, USA

 

Dr. Sheila (Patty) Canby joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009 after eighteen years as a curator at the British Museum. Her publications include Shah `Abbas: The Remaking of Iran, Islamic Art in Detail, Persian Painting, The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp and Court and Cosmos: the Great Age of the Seljuqs.

 

LAURA CARTECHINI

Research Scientist

Institute of Molecular Science and Technologies (ISTM) – National Research Council (CNR)

Milan, Padova, Perugia, ITALY

 

Laura Cartechini received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Perugia in 1998. Her research activity is aimed at understanding the chemical and physical properties of art historical materials and relative degradation processes for diagnostic and conservation purposes.

 

Title of Presentation: Immunodetection of proteins in paint media by ELISA and IFM

 

Abstract: Immunological techniques are based on the highly specific antibody-antigen interaction which is widely exploited for analytical and clinical purposes in biochemistry and medicine. Their application in heritage science is very attractive for the major advantages they offer: high sensitivity and specificity, being able to distinguish different biological sources of the same protein.

In this contribution analytical potentials and limits of Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and Immunofluorescent Microscopy (IFM) techniques for the analysis of proteins in painting materials are presented and discussed. ELISA is cost affordable, relatively simple and fast, with limited sample manipulation and capable of multiple antigen recognition, while IFM is very promising for spatially resolved identification of target proteins in painting cross-sections.

Analytical issues and practical aspects on the use of these techniques in heritage science will be considered. The impact in the field, as well as perspectives of future developments of the immunological approach will be also discussed.

ELISA Protocols Tutorial
ELISA - Video
Microscopy Tutorials
CV
Additional Pre-Meeting Materials
 

SUE ANN CHUI

Associate Conservator

J. Paul Getty Museum

Los Angeles, CA, USA

 

At the Getty since 2005, Sue Ann Chui is a specialist in the conservation of panel paintings. Her areas of interest include Italian painting to 1600, wood technology, gilding, and X-radiography. She has presented and published on the materials and techniques of artists such as Taddeo Gaddi, Andrea del Sarto, and those from Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop.

 

TIMOTHY CLELAND

Physical Scientist

Smithsonian Institution

Washington, DC, USA

 

Dr. Cleland received his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from North Carolina State University in 2012 where he developed paleoproteomic methods and applied them to variety of species. He applies mass spectrometry-based methods to detect proteins and characterize protein preservation from a variety of materials.

 

Title of Presentation: High Resolution Mass Spectrometry to Characterize the Composition of Art Pieces

 

Abstract: Mass spectrometry-based proteomics has opened avenues to better characterize a variety of materials housed in museum collections around the world, including detection of the biologically-derived components of art objects. Proteomic methods were applied to Chinese lacquer Buddhas (late 6th to early 7th century) and a bodhisattva (13th century), in which bone was ground to a powder and used as filler. Mass spectrometric analysis was able identify the species of origin for the bone as well as the lacquer. Proteomics was also applied to biological tissues from 18th-19th century Tlingit art, showing the diversity of species used to adorn the art pieces. In addition to these examples, mass spectrometry will be discussed and challenges associated with application of these techniques in paleoproteomics will be discussed.

Proteomics Identification Tutorial
Protein ID by MS Tutorial
CV
Proteomics Tutorial – Tissues
How MS Works
Proteomics Tutorial – Protein
Additional Pre-Meeting Materials
 

MATTHEW CUSHMAN

Conservator of Paintings/Affiliated Assistant Professor

Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation

Wilmington, DE, USA

 

Matt Cushman is a paintings conservator and conservation educator. His research interests include cleaning technologies and novel treatments for paintings and decorative surfaces. Prior to joining Winterthur, Matt held positions at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, the Worcester Art Museum, and Yale University’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.

 

JEAN EVANS

Chief Curator and Deputy Director; Research Associate

Oriental Institute Museum

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA

 

Dr. Jean M. Evans, now at the Oriental Institute, was a member of the curatorial staff at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1999–2008. Her research focuses on the religious material culture of Mesopotamia during the third millennium BC, and she is the author of The Lives of Sumerian Sculpture: An Archaeology of the Early Dynastic Temple (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

 
 

MELANIE GIFFORD

Research Conservator for Painting Technology

Scientific Research Department

National Gallery of Art

Washington, DC, USA

 

Dr. Melanie Gifford is an art historian and former painting conservator whose research incorporates technical study, including microscopic analysis. Her publications consider artistic decision-making among Dutch and Flemish painters, including studies on Van Eyck, Rembrandt and Vermeer. Recently, she and her colleague, Lisha Glinsman, explored stylistic exchange among Dutch “high-life” painters.

 
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CHRISTINE GIUNTINI

Conservator

Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, NY, USA

 

Christine Giuntini is a conservator working with the collections of the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the MMA. Her research interests focus on fibrous organic materials, their associated attachments, fabrication/construction methods, and mount-centered display in lieu of invasive treatments.  She has written or contributed to technical and historical essays and articles on West and Central African woven textiles, and Peruvian archeological featherworks and textiles.

CLARA GRANZOTTO

Postdoctoral Fellow

Natural History Museum of Denmark

University of Copenhagen

Copenhagen, DENMARK

 

Dr. Granzotto received her Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy, and University of Lille, France.  She has experience in several museum scientific research departments. She specializes in the analysis of traditional binding media by mass spectrometry, with a focus on polysaccharides and proteins.

 

SARAH GUERIN

Assistant Professor

History of Art Department

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA, USA

 

Sarah Guérin is a medieval art historian whose research focuses on ivory carvings from around the Mediterranean world. Some of the questions she has addressed concern materiality, notably inter-regional trade networks across the medieval world system, as well as technique, facture, and function in both liturgy and devotion.

 

JENNIFER JAE GUTIERREZ

Executive Director

Image Permanence Institute

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, NY, USA

 

Jennifer Jae Gutierrez is Executive Director of the Image Permanence Institute, a preservation research laboratory at Rochester Institute of Technology. She has a M.S. in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware specializing in photograph conservation and has published on photographic preservation, photographer’work processes, and conservation education.

 

CHARLOTTE HALE

Conservator

Sherman Fairchild Center for Paintings Conservation

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, NY, USA

 

Charlotte Hale received her training in the conservation of paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and joined the Department of Paintings Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1987. Her publications include technical studies of works by Lorenzo Monaco, Giovanni Bellini, Velázquez, Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Seurat.

 
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ARLEN HEGINBOTHAM

Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Los Angeles, CA, USA

 

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 and analysis of 17th century East Asian export lacquer, the history of metallurgy, the use of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy as a tool for studying copper alloy artifacts, microscopic and chemical wood identification.  He is currently pursuing a PhD in the Earth Sciences Department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Title of Presentation: Reflections of a Conservator on the Utility of Biology in Conservation

Abstract: Three case studies are presented that describe the complexities encountered by a conservator when attempting to characterize a variety of biological materials on decorative arts and sculpture. The first and most complex was the application of Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay (ELISA) and Immuno-fluorescence Microscopy (IFM) to identify the composition of a transparent organic layer sandwiched between a glue-bound paint and oil size on two French seventeenth century gilt and bronzed wooden sculptures. These techniques were successfully applied to the sculptures and subsequently, capacity for routine ELISA analysis was developed at the Getty Conservation Institute. The second foray into biological analysis involved the identification of the species of marine turtle shell found in 17th and 18th-century marquetry using a DNA barcoding protocol developed at the American Museum of Natural History. Although the technique is very successful with fresh sample material, the extraction protocols used at AMNH were unable to extract sufficient DNA from the aged and processed shell to allow successful sequencing.  The final case study is the application of peptide mass fingerprinting for the identification of leather used as a support for early 18th century Chinese lacquer. This technique identified the leather as water buffalo hide, which conforms with historical accounts of period practice.  As this is a relatively new technique to conservation science and the number of reference samples tested to date is relatively small, it will be interesting to learn more about the anticipated variablility of results within species, the effects of deterioration, and the ability to discriminate between closely related species. Taken together these case studies exemplify some practical concerns that confront practicing conservators in the course of technical studies on artworks.  

CV
Pre-Meeting Materials
 

EVON HEKKALA

Associate Professor

Fordham University

Biological Sciences and Research Associate

American Museum of Natural History

New York, NY, USA

 

Dr. Hekkala’s interests lie in the intersection of Anthropology, Ecology and Evolutionary biology. She currently has an active research program using genomic data from museum specimens and paleo- and bio-archaeological materials to answer questions about the distribution of species in space and time, including projects on sacred crocodile mummies and ancient Egyptian taxonomy. She has worked with these and other archived specimens from over twenty museums around the world.

 
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ERMA HERMENS

Senior Researcher in Technical Art History, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam/

Professor in Studio Practice and Technical Art History

History of Art Department, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

University of Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS

 

Erma Hermens is a technical art historian at the Rijksmuseum/ University of Amsterdam (2016) after ten years as Associate Professor at Glasgow University. Her research interests are focused on artistic and artisanal practice and knowledge. She works largely with interdisciplinary teams, combining art historical and contextual research of objects with scientific analytical data.

 
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GUNNAR HEYDENREICH

Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences

Technical University Cologne

Cologne, GERMANY

Dr. Gunnar Heydenreich is Professor for Conservation of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences / TH Köln. He studied paintings conservation and was awarded a Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute of Art. From 1995 to 2009 he was head of paintings conservation at the Restaurierungszentrum in Düsseldorf.

 

MARGARET HOLBEN ELLIS

Chair; Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation

Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

New York, NY, USA

 

Professor Ellis teaches the conservation treatment of prints and drawings and technical connoisseurship for art historians. She served as founding Director of the Thaw Conservation Center at the Morgan Library & Museum until January 2017. She is a Fellow and current President of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC), a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and an Accredited Conservator/Restorer of the Institute of Conservation (ICON).   She was Editor for Philosophical and Historical Issues in the Conservation of Works of Art on Paper (2014; Getty Conservation Institute); the 2nd edition of her book, The Care of Prints and Drawings appeared in 2017. 

 
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ELIZABETH KORNHAUSER

Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, NY, USA

 

Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Kornhauser is Curator of American Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she has curated numerous exhibitions, most recently: Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings. Many have featured collaborative conservation components. She served as the Deputy Director, Chief Curator, and Curator of American Painting at the Wadsworth Atheneum from 1997 to 2010.

 
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JENNIFER MASS

Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Cultural Heritage Science

Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture

New York, NY, USA

 

Prior to her tenure at Bard, Dr. Mass was the Director of the Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory at the Winterthur Museum and Gardens. She also taught conservation science at the University of Delaware M.S. Program in Art Conservation and at the SUNY College at Buffalo M.A. Program in Art Conservation.

 

DAVID McFADDEN

Retired; formerly Chief Curator and Vice President for Programs and Collections

Museum of Arts & Design

New York, NY, USA

 

David Revere McFadden served as Chief Curator and Vice President for Programs and Collections at the Museum of Arts & Design from 1997 to 2013. McFadden has organized more than 120 exhibitions, including Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes Art, which brought together artists who use materials such as bones, insects, dead plants, fish, and seeds.  

 

RACHEL MUSTALISH

Conservator

Sherman Fairchild Center for Works on Paper and Photographic Conservation

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, NY, USA

 

Rachel Mustalish received an M.A. in the History of Art and an Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She joined the paper conservation department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1998 and studies drawings and prints with specializations in European and American modernism, and international contemporary art.

 

STELLA PANAYOTOVA

The Fitzwilliam Museum

University of Cambridge

Cambridge, UNITED KINGDOM

 

Dr. Stella Panayotova (M.A., Classics, Sofia; D.Phil., History, Oxford) is Keeper of Manuscripts and Printed Books at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. She curates major exhibitions, and directs the Cambridge Illuminations and MINIARE projects. Her research interests include illuminated manuscripts’ production and patronage, and technical analyses of artists’ materials and techniques.

 

Title of Presentation: Organics in Illuminated Manuscripts

 

Abstract: The role of organic materials in Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts was far greater than suggested by the traditional emphasis on minerals, earths and metals in the literature. This emphasis and the attendant neglect of organics stems from two main issues. First, organic colorants fade or discolor quickly and often thoroughly, becoming unrecognizable or even invisible to the naked eye; unaware of their presence in the images when first created, we risk offering stylistic analysis and conclusions that may not only undermine the achievements of some artists, but also misdate or misattribute artworks. Second, most organic materials cannot be securely identified with the currently available non-invasive analytical methods that meet conservation standards and curators’ requirements; complex admixtures, multiple pigment layers and various preparation methods present the greatest challenges.

Digital Resource on Illuminated Manuscripts
Additional Pre-Meeting Materials
CV
 

ELLEN PEARLSTEIN

Professor

UCLA Information Studies and UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials

Los Angeles, CA, USA


Ellen Pearlstein, formerly Senior Objects Conservator, Brooklyn Museum, is currently a founding faculty member in the UCLA/Getty Program and faculty in UCLA Information Studies. Her research and teaching interests include the conservation of organic materials, notably featherwork and Andean qeros, working with indigenous communities, preventive conservation and conservation curriculum development.

 

CONSTANTINE PETRIDIS

Chair, Department of Arts of Africa and the Americas & Curator of African Art

The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA


Prior to joining the Art Institute of Chicago, Dr. Constantine (Costa) Petridis served as first full-time curator of African art at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 2001 to 2016. In addition to numerous exhibition catalogues, journal articles, and book chapters, he just published Luluwa: Central African Art Between Heaven and Earth.

 

TOM SAKMAR

Richard M. & Isabel P. Furlaud Professor

The Rockefeller University

New York, NY, USA

 

Dr. Tom Sakmar is a physician-scientist and molecular biologist who studies how drugs affect the function of cell surface receptors called GPCRs. He has developed a toolbox of drug-discovery technologies that are now being applied to search for genetic material in art and cultural objects.

 

CYNTHIA SCHWARZ

Associate Conservator of Paintings

Yale University Art Gallery

New Haven, CT, USA

 

As a painting conservator, Cindy Schwarz focuses on the treatment of modern and contemporary paintings. She also co-teaches the course Art and Biomolecular Recognition and collaborates on the development of gecko-inspired micropillar structures for the cleaning of works of art.

 

CHRISTINE SCIACCA

Associate Curator of European Art, 300-1400 CE

The Walters Art Museum

Baltimore, MD, USA
 

Dr. Christine Sciacca received her Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University. Her book publications include, Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350, Building the Medieval World, and Illuminating Women in the Medieval World. Her current exhibition project at the Walters Art Museum focuses on Ethiopian art.

 

GREGORY DALE SMITH

Otto N. Frenzel III Senior Conservation Scientist

Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Indianapolis, IN, USA

 

Dr. Smith designed, outfitted, and now operates the conservation science laboratory at the IMA where he conducts technical studies of the museum’s collections. His research interests include undergraduate education at the Arts-Science interface, assessing pollution off-gassing of museum construction materials, and understanding the chemical degradation of artists’ materials.   

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CAROLINE SOLAZZO

Museum Conservation Institute

Smithsonian Institution

Suitland, MD, USA

 

Dr. Solazzo has been a research scientist at MCI since 2017 and a research fellow since 2012. Her research is focused on the utilization of protein products in material culture and the development of proteomics methods for the analysis of ancient proteins in cultural heritage. She specializes in the characterization of keratin-based tissues and other textile fibers.

 
 

KEN SUTHERLAND

Scientist

Department of Conservation and Science

The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA

 

Dr. Ken Sutherland’s research interests concern the characterization of organic materials in works of art, using mass spectrometric and other analytical techniques, to inform an understanding of their technique, condition and appearance.

 

MATTHEW TEASDALE

BioArCh, Department of Archaeology

University of York

York, UNITED KINGDOM


Dr. Matthew Teasdale is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow at the University of York. His research focus lies in the genetic study of domestic animals through time. This interest has lead him to study manuscript parchments as a source of DNA from which past animal populations can be investigated.

 

Title of Presentation: Hiding in Plain Sight: Unlocking the Genetic Information Contained within Cultural Heritage Objects.

 

Abstract: We live in the genomic age; recent technological advances have made it possible to capture large amounts of genetic data from the world around us, allowing analyses that were previously thought to be in the realm of science fiction to become routine. This presentation will focus on how these techniques can provide valuable information for the study and conservation of cultural heritage objects, highlighting use cases in materiality, provenance and biodeterioration. The talk will feature a case study, which binds these themes together in the genetic analysis of a complete 1000-year-old parchment book object.

Ancient DNA & the Biology of Books
CV
Genetics Tutorial
Ancient DNA and Mammoths
Additional Pre-Meeting Materials
 

CAROLINE TOKARSKI

Professor at the University of Bordeaux-CNRS UMR5248 CBMN

Researcher of the Institut Universitaire de France

Head of the Proteome Platform of Bordeaux

Bordeaux, FRANCE

Caroline Tokarski is an analytical chemist specialized in high resolution mass spectrometry. Her research is focused on methodological developments for analysis of organic material from native or transformed biological samples. She adapted omics’techniques to cultural heritage samples for accurate identification of proteins/lipids/polysaccharides, their modifications and their biological origins. Her current work is focused on organic networking and degradation mechanisms in Cultural Heritage samples.

Title of Presentation: Chemistry and Cultural Heritage: Deciphering Natural Polymers by Bottom up and Top down Mass Spectrometry Analysis

Abstract: The study of organic biomolecules in Cultural Heritage is key to deciphering ancient materials in order to reveal new historical insights or help in preservation issues. Mass spectrometry-based techniques, such as proteomics has become the mainstream method but it remains challenging due to the limited sample amount available for analysis, the complexity of the composite material and its degradation state. This presentation will describe the currently most robust and sensitive methods to analyze trace amounts of proteins, lipids and polysaccharides from artworks and archaeological objects and their main achievements; i.e. accurate identification, identification of biological origins, identification of chemical modifications related to ageing or reaction with other components within the sample or external.

 

This presentation will also show how the top down methodology addresses the current challenges, such as structural elucidation of biopolymers with unknown structures and/or their chemical modifications (e.g. historic art paintings, watercolors, archaeological ceramics). For example, protein lactosylation, a Maillard reaction signaling the potential heating processing of milk was identified in Ist century nursing bottles. Another example is the combination of soft depolymerization experiments and high resolution mass spectrometry to unravel the 3D networks formed by insoluble lipidic films (e.g. historic oil-paintings). First analytical evidence of protein crosslinkings in historic artworks will be also presented (e.g. tempera, painted leather).

Finally, the combination of the omics approaches with DNA analysis or with immuno-based techniques will be introduced. In particular epitope mapping using proteomics for a better understanding of ELISA detection in artworks will be presented. Another example dealing with proteins from non-sequenced species will show the importance to pair DNA and proteomics analysis. These examples will be illustrated by various cases of study from the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection.

Proteomics Art and Archaeology
CV
Additional Pre-Meeting Materials
 
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NANCY TURNER

Conservator of Manuscripts

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Los Angeles, CA, USA

 

Nancy Turner (B.A. Art History/Anthropology, Stanford Univ.; M.A. History, UCLA) has been responsible for the care of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection of illuminated manuscripts since 1984. She specializes in the conservation treatment of parchment and painted illuminations, and publishes on the materiality of medieval manuscripts based on collaborative scientific research.

 

NATHAN WALES

Lecturer

Department of Archaeology

University of York

York, UNITED KINGDOM

Dr. Nathan Wales is affiliated with the University of York where he directs the ancient DNA laboratory in the Department of Archaeology. He specializes in recovering DNA from degraded plant remains, and his primary research is focused on understanding how humans domesticated species like corn, sunflower, and grapevine.

 

Title of Presentation: The Potential of Analyzing DNA from Ancient and Historic Works of Art

 

Abstract: Thanks to the “genomic revolution” of the past decade, geneticists have the capability to quickly and inexpensively characterize massive amounts of DNA sequences. The powerful sequencing platforms and vast DNA databases that drove this revolution have opened the door to numerous applications, including high-resolution DNA analyses of archaeological, historic, and other degraded specimens. In this presentation I will summarize my research on DNA from archaeological plants tissues and historic barkcloth textiles to demonstrate what conditions encourage DNA preservation and what ultimately can be learned from the DNA fragments contained in organic remains. I will then discuss how genomic techniques can be applied to fine art collections and how collaborations between art researchers and geneticists could lead to the identification of the plant and animal populations used to produce specific works of art. In addition, I will explain how cutting-edge sequencing technologies may reveal new information about suspected forgeries using microbial genetic fingerprints. Last, I will discuss how existing forensics-based approaches could provide an unprecedented avenue of research on past artists though traces of human DNA imbedded in works of art.

DNA and RNA Tutorial
DNA Barcoding (video)
Genomics Tutorial
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Add'l Materials
 

MARC WALTON

Co-Director of the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts

Northwestern University

Chicago, IL, USA

 

Dr. Walton leads a team of graduate students, postdocs, and visiting scientists who explore the structure and composition of works of art.  

 

KRISTIN WINDMULLER-LUNA

Sills Family Consulting Curator, African Arts

Brooklyn Museum

New York, NY, USA


Curator and art historian Dr. Kristen Windmuller-Luna (Ph.D., Princeton University) specializes in the arts and architectures of Africa, with a focus on the early modern era and Christian Ethiopia. Her object-centered curatorial approach emphasizes collaboration, as well as the combination of field, archival, and scientific-based research.

 

AYSIN YOLTAR

Hagop Kevorkian Associate Curator of Islamic Art

Brooklyn Museum

New York, NY, USA

 

Dr. Aysin Yoltar received her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Before joining the Brooklyn Museum, she held curatorial positions at the Harvard Art Museums and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also taught at several universities in Turkey and the US. She focuses on Islamic illustrated manuscripts.