July 11, 2010

Conservation, Research and Science

Restoration detail: Gottorfer Codex: 365 floral paintings from a 17th-century castle being restored page by page

The Gallery spans seven centuries of art – from the early Renaissance up to the present day. The task of looking after the art is both extensive and demanding.

Respect for the Art
The purpose of conservation is to extend the lifespan of the artwork in question. The Gallery’s Conservation Department is concerned with preventing damage to works, with repairing any damage that may occur, and finally with ensuring that the works present themselves to their best advantage. These tasks require thorough and extensive research into the creation of the work, as well as the artist’s choice of materials. Besides this, there are also many processes involved in moving, photographing and registering the individual works of art.

Inviting Audiences In
The processes involved in the conservation and restoration of artworks are also highly relevant to general audiences. Recognizing this, the National Gallery of Denmark has invited our visitors to enter our workshops in connection with a wide range of restoration projects. This initiative, which has proven very successful, has allowed the public to closely follow restoration projects as the processes unfolded. The audience involvement approach is further strengthened by a number of other initiatives such as lectures arranged by the conservation department, the Gallery’s online database, and the restoration department’s blogs where the Gallery’s conservation staff shares thoughts and information about their work. All this creates an environment of openness and ample opportunities for worldwide dialogue, which in turn offers added potential for working with art on a whole new level while also furthering a new interplay between audiences, art, and the art professionals working at the workshop.

The Conservation, Research and Science area offers the following scope for support:

  • Funding for the Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation (CATS) at SMK, specifically for the acquisition of scientific instruments
  • Funding for CATS employees such as: Senior Research Conservator of CATS; CATS PhD Student; CATS Post Doc position
  • Funding for technical Art History publications in the series “The Making of a Masterpiece”
  • Traveling expenses for SMK conservators conducting research outside of Denmark, particularly in the U.S.
  • Conservation projects ranging from the treatment of major works to series of works of art.
  • Establishment of a one-year Conservation Fellowship at SMK for research and advanced conservation
  • A five-year sponsorship appointing a selected conservator as ‘The AFSMK Senior Research Conservator of SMK’
  • Funding for a series of five books (to be published annually) on issues of Technical Art History.
  • Funding for the Open Workshops
  • Conservation Fellowships
    Occupying a space where science and art intersect, the fields of conservation and technical art history demand in-depth knowledge of chemistry and materials, an extraordinary sensitivity to artistic intent, and physical dexterity, patience, and powers of concentration. Initial training, typically at one of a handful of institutions in North America, provides basic qualifications that must be supplemented with an extended period of specialized concentration on paintings, objects, photographs, prints and drawings, books and manuscripts, etc. Within a supervised environment, the young conservator develops the specific skills, the hands-on experience, and the confidence on which to base a future career. The AFSMK awards competitive grants to SMK, which offers supervised internships addressing the conservation of specific objects and onsite training.
  • Educational exchange program for Danish and American students within the field of conservation, research and science