Author: The Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum joins organizations worldwide in celebrating Slow Art Day on Saturday April 11, 2015. Slow Art Day started in 2008 as an experiment in changing the way we view art in a museum environment. Below is a list of 5 works, selected by members of the Baltimore arts community, for you to … Continued
During this week’s Super Thursday Party, the Walters Enthusiasts is sponsoring a Scavenger Hunt Contest for a chance to win two tickets to see the musical Chicago at the Hippodrome or a $50 gift card to Cardinal Tavern. Visit the Walters Enthusiasts Facebook page during the Super Thursday Party to find the scavenger hunt clues. Clues will be … Continued
The Walters recently received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to perform the cleaning and treatment of several objects from the Doris Duke Collection of Southeast Asian Art. This collection, comprised of a variety of beautiful and unique pieces, has been in storage for some time, and many pieces require treatment. … Continued
The St. Francis Missal (W.75) is, at first glance, a seemingly humble manuscript. Bound in undecorated wood and leather, its cover is worm-eaten and cracked. As a missal (a book containing the texts used in the celebration of the Mass), it was primarily meant to be read from by the priest during the church service, and thus designed to be functional rather than lavish. Why, then, is this book one of the most intriguing in The Walters’ collection, as well as one of the most popular, visited by many from around the world each year?
Every item in the collection, like this Turkish Hunting Set, tells a story. Curators and conservators work to piece it together, examining each item’s history, composition, and necessary treatment. They unearth countless stories, fit together jigsaw puzzles of broken pieces, remove centuries of dirt and tarnish, and so much more. Using a range of techniques, technologies, and sciences, they study and repair items so they can continue to be enjoyed and explored for generations to come.
Friday, May 23, come to the Conservation Window and learn how display cases are designed and updated for better long-term protection and display of art objects. Conservator Katie Posthauer has been working for two years on a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to help identify and replace display cases in most need of … Continued
A triptych depicting St. Jerome and the Four Evangelists embellished with hummingbird feathers was acquired by Henry Walters in 1914, and has never been on display at the Walters. The object is currently undergoing analysis and cleaning of the decorative hummingbird feathers in the conservation lab.
Built for Dr. John Hanson Thomas, the great-grandson of John Hanson, President of the Continental Congress, The Hackerman House represented the height of elegance and convenience in the mid-nineteenth century. Renowned guests include the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and General Kossuth. In 1892, Mr. and Mrs. Francis M. Jencks purchased the home … Continued
Thanks to a $111,615 grant from the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Walters Art Museum has successfully catalogued and digitized more than 600 American paintings, drawings and portrait miniatures for the museum’s online collection. Rarely seen works from John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and John La Farge, among others, are now available for download … Continued
Each week, from March 26, 2014 until April 29, 2014, we will give away a copy of Japanese Ceramics for the Twenty-first Century, the accompanying catalogue for our special exhibition, Designed for Flowers: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics. All you have to do is to participate in the week’s fun and easy social media challenge, follow us (if you haven’t yet) and tag it with #FreeArtBook to qualify!
Marvin Chauncey Ross was our Curator of Medieval and Subsequent Art from 1939 to 1952. In 1944 the young Ross, now a Captain, was called by General Eisenhower to join the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission (MFAA) to assist in the discovery and repatriation of artworks seized by the Nazi occupation forces throughout Europe.
Recent research has shown that many ancient Egyptian metal objects were originally exuberantly colored, employing contrasting metal alloys or other inlays to highlight details or portions of a figure. These animated images show three ancient Egyptian artworks’ current condition and how they might have looked originally.
Even though curator, Joy P. Heyrman, did extensive research to make sure every Richard Caton Woodville painting on record was on display for New Eyes on America: The Genius of Richard Caton Woodville, three remain “lost” and unaccounted for. Heyrman explains the last known whereabouts of these lost paintings:
Museum conservators use modern technology to date and identify a 13th century Flemish reliquary. This large, church-shaped shrine once housed the relics of a 7th-century saint who served as a missionary and bishop to the western regions of present-day Belgium. St. Amandus (d. 679) also established a monastery at Elnon, near Tournai (western Belgium), where the monks later commissioned this reliquary to honor his remains.
The Bodhisattva Guanyin, a beautiful near-life-size figure, was a recent gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Made in China during the Ming period (early 15th–early 17th centuries), the sculpture made its journey from the Duke estate to the Walters 19th-century galleries, where it received treatment by the conservation department prior to going on view in the Hackerman House.
While ancient marble sculptures are often thought of as pristine and white, we know that many were once painted with bright colors. This sarcophagus is no different. Recently, while removing plaster and other old restoration materials, conservators have discovered several areas of what is believed to be original red paint.
Where there’s silver, there’s tarnish. While getting the tarnish off your flatware might be an occasional inconvenience, to museum curators and conservators, it’s a threat to irreplaceable works of art.
To protect these objects for generations to come, scientists from the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, have teamed up with conservators from the Walters Art Museum to develop and test a new, high-tech way to protect silver art objects and artifacts, using coatings that are mere nanometers thick.
Paintings are often requested for loans to exhibitions in other museums. To ensure that they remain in a safe, stable environment from the time they leave the Walters to the time they return, especially vulnerable paintings are enclosed in a climate-controlled, in-frame vitrine, made for the individual piece. The vitrine ensures that the encapsulated painting will remain in the Walters’ relative humidity outside the museum walls. Our video demonstrates the vitrine-making process on one of the Walters’ most famous paintings.
Art historical, scientific, and technical research contribute to the careful treatment of this very rare and significant Spanish altarpiece, attributed to a Catalan master. The large Gothic triptych titled The Madonna and Child with the Crucifixion, the Annunciation, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Coronation of the Virgin is a striking example of Italian influence in … Continued
Recently in the Objects Conservation lab at the Walters, in collaboration with Curator of Renaissance and Baroque Art at the Walters, Dr. Joaneath Spicer, this 15-16th century Spanish Processional Cross has been the subject of a year-long in-depth study and conservation treatment, funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. This study was undertaken to learn … Continued
Discovered in a box among photographs of unnamed, unidentified and forgotten African American men, women and children, it is the only known photograph of the American sculptor taken in Rome, and probably dates around 1874–76. Although no one in the shop understood my ecstatic reaction, I knew that prior to this discovery, there existed only seven known photographs of Mary Edmonia Lewis (1844–1907), all taken at the same sitting in Chicago around 1868–70, by photographer Henry Rocher
By using examination techniques that do not damage the object, it is possible to characterize many of the materials that were used to create this cartonnage. Now that conservators know more about these materials, it is possible to make recommendations about how best to store this object so that it will not continue to deteriorate. The fragment will be placed in a closed container to protect the fragile surface from accidental damage and the Egyptian blue from exposure to the air. It will be kept in the dark or in low light to protect the orpiment.
Cartonnage is the painted material that covers many mummy bundles. Like a plaster cast, it is made of layers of fabric (usually linen) that are wrapped around the bundle and then covered with a smooth, white layer of plaster. After it is dry, the plaster surface can be painted with designs and Egyptian religious symbols. … Continued
Today, coconut is a common food, whether baked in a cake, stirred into a curry, or eaten fresh from the shell. Because it is possible to buy coconuts at nearly any supermarket or grocery store, they are not considered especially rare or unusual. But this has not always been the case. Coconut palms are not … Continued
The Walters Art Museum contains a large collection of historic watches, many of which were collected by Henry Walters. Mr. Walters appears to have collected the watches mainly with an eye toward the beauty of their cases. Many of the watch cases qualify as miniature works of art in enamel, metalwork, and gemstone; yet recent conservation work has shown that the clockworks inside the cases may often be later replacements, pastiches, or else incomplete and non-functional.
In the Salon gallery at the Walters Art Museum, we’ve restored the original theme of each wall (academic art from France, academic art by non-French artists, and military themes). This was done by retrieving paintings from storage. Other new additions can be seen to either side of the magnificent carved sideboard: two still lifes by Simon Saint-Jean, a leading flower- and still-life-painter of the 1830s and 40s.
The Walters Art Museum recently purchased at auction a painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), an African American artist whose reputation has been reassessed with the major exhibition currently touring the United States: Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit, organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The Walters already owns one work by Tanner: a bust of his … Continued
At the Walters, we regularly take x-rays of objects, paintings, and books; this allows us to have “x-ray vision” and look inside objects. Recently in the Conservation Window, an objects conservator was talking with museum visitors about how conservators use x-radiography to non-destructively learn about how objects were made and also assess their condition, using … Continued
How do you read a two-thousand-year-old manuscript that has been erased, cut up, written on and painted over? With a powerful particle accelerator, of course! Ancient books curator William Noel tells the fascinating story behind the Archimedes palimpsest, a Byzantine prayer book containing previously-unknown original writings from ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes and others. William Noel … Continued
We’re pleased to announce that the Walters Art Museum’s Online Collection Website has been named an Official Honoree in the 2012 Webby Awards in the category of cultural institutions. The Walters’ collection website, launched in September, contains downloadable images and detailed information about more than 10,000 objects in the museum’s permanant collection. Images are provided … Continued
With the help of a Preservation and Access Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and with additional funding from an anonymous donor, the Walters is pleased to announce the completion of its program to create digital surrogates of its collection of Islamic manuscripts and single leaves. All the data is licensed for use … Continued
This spring the Walters will welcome back forty of its best-known paintings. J.A.D. Ingres’ Oedipus and the Sphinx, Claude Monet’s Springtime and many more will return to the galleries from a triumphant year-long tour in the traveling exhibition Masterpieces of Nineteenth-Century Painting from the Walters Art Museum. The exhibition opened at the Santa Barbara Museum … Continued
Few are aware that one of the best and earliest copies of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa is right here in Baltimore at the Walters. The painting is on display in the the museum’s 16th-century art galleries. Recent excitement surrounding the technical examination of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa prompted a re-examination in late September of the x-ray of the Walters’ copy.
Egyptian Museums and cultural sites have been the target of thefts and looters during the unrest in Egypt during the last week. Works of art have been stolen and some were damaged and destroyed. However, after the Egyptians realized that their heritage came into danger many Egyptian colleagues engaged in the cultural sector and countless … Continued
We are proud to announce that the Walters Art Museum has received a grant for $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts for fiscal year 2011. This grant is to help support the costs of presenting and interpreting the special exhibition Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe, on view at … Continued
The purpose and the only purpose of museums is education in all its varied aspects from the most scholarly research to the simple arousing of curiosity…and it must always be intimately connected with the life of the people. Ted Low, The Museum as a Social Instrument, 1942 Maybe you heard about “Ted” Low’s gallery talks, or … Continued