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. Continue Reading →
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 Continue Reading →
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.
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 Continue Reading →
Our chief conservator, Terry Drayman-Weisser, has returned from Iraq. She is the director of conservation and technical research, at the Walters Art Museum, and travels to Iraq to assist with conservation efforts there.
While ancient marble sculptures are often thought of as pristine and white, we know that many were once painted with bright colors.
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.
This is an installment of the weekly interview series, on the Culture Comment blog. It’s called “Behind-the-Scenes.” Each week, we’ll discuss new facts and information about the people that make the Walters Art Museum tick. Now, let’s meet Eric Gordon.
Our chief conservator, Terry Drayman-Weisser, has returned to Iraq. She visited there in May, and wrote as a guest blogger here on Culture Comment. She is the director of conservation and technical research, at the Walters Art Museum, and travels to Iraq to assist with conservation efforts there. This is the final post from her return trip.