Leave a comment

Is There a Connection Between Science and Art?

December 13, 2017, by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

ucla-2The painting above is from the National Gallery’s collection.  It depicts an Egyptian noblewoman and is a Fayum portrait, a type of painting that was attached to mummies of that time and believed to depict the image of a real person.

Science and Art – Fine Art in the New Media

There is an intriguing connection between science and art, which seem to be in contradiction with each other. In one instance the two subjects are seen to be radically different, with a firm line drawn between the two.  Science and art are often seen as in opposite, with no connection between the two. Oftentimes, the connection may not be readily apparent. This post describes a newly developed scientific technique used to great advantage in identifying the elements of the ancient painting depicted above.

“Scientists from UCLA and the National Gallery of Art have used a combination of three advanced imaging techniques to produce a highly detailed analysis of a second century Egyptian painting.”

The Process

“The approach, which is described in a paper published in Scientific Reports, integrates three existing techniques — hyperspectral diffuse reflectance, luminescence and X-ray fluorescence — to examine the painting.”

“By combining data from the three modalities, the researchers were able to map the signatures of molecules and elements across the surface of the painting for each pixel of the image. The findings revealed important details on the painting’s composition and structure.”

The Project

Ioanna Kakoulli, professor of materials science and engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science describes the project,

“’Without even taking a minute sample from the painting, we mapped out detailed information that tells us exactly what materials were used, and how they were prepared,’” she said. “We were also able to link their production technology to other ancient ‘industries’ and practices, such as mining, metallurgy, pottery, dyeing, pharmacopeia and alchemy.”’

The Findings

“By combining data from the three modalities, the researchers were able to map the signatures of molecules and elements across the surface of the painting for each pixel of the image. The findings revealed important details on the painting’s composition and structure.”

“The analysis revealed the molecular and elemental composition of the paint and the medium used to bind the paint: The scientists discovered that the painting was made using encaustic — a technique that uses a mixture of pigment and melted beeswax that is “burned in” on a wooden base. The research also offers insights into fashions and artistic methods popular at the time.”

The Connection Between Science and Art

‘“The decoration of [the subject’s] garment is an excellent example of craftsmanship in real life being reflected within the painting,” said Roxanne Radpour, a UCLA graduate student and a co-author of the study. “Madder dye extracted from roots was often used to color textiles and leather in ancient Egypt, and we see from the chemical mapping of the portrait that the artist chose to paint the noblewoman’s dress with madder lake pigment, thus imitating contemporary practices.”’

The Future

“The results, when interpreted by experts of artist material from this time period, show a complete picture of how the object fabricated emerges. We hope such multimodal imaging methods become the basis for futures studies of such early polychrome objects.”

The scientists said “the new approach could potentially be used in other disciplines such as environmental, geological, biological and forensic sciences.” (All quotes, Art Daily).

Prior Post:

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: