Art Science

The material science condition of art objects tells a story about their creation while their present condition reflects how their age has affected them. Art scientific studies encompass physical and chemical studies of art objects where the focus is on the material properties of the objects. This involves studies of the artist materials, their mode of application and their performance in time. Conservation science on the other hand focuses on the preservation of the condition of art objects.

Pictures change because the paintings are chemically and physically reactive systems that respond to the environment. Colors change. Oil paintings darken or become more transparent. Sometimes a conservation intervention leads to an unintended catastrophic change in internal conditions. More understanding of these slow and fast changes is imperative for the safe keeping of our cultural heritage.

A main result of our studies since 1992 has been the realization that paintings are not static but slowly changing objects. A number of these changes have now been elucidated on the molecular level.

JAAP Enterprise performs integrated analytical studies of art objects with an emphasis on paintings. Analytical studies are performed in the context of a full understanding of the art production process and the effects of aging on a microscopic and molecular level. Our art scientific experience is based on about 25 years of collaborative studies with museum conservators using light and electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, various imaging spectroscopies of paintings.

Our earlier art scientific work at FOM Insitute AMOLF in Amsterdam was financed by the EU, FOM and NWO. The MOLART (1995-2001) and De Mayerne Research Program (2002-2006) financed by the Dutch Science Foundation NWO were master-minded to carry out research into aspects of aging of paint and paintings in collaboration with museums in the Netherlands. A recent follow-up research initiative in the Netherlands is Science4Arts a collaborative research program of NWO and NSF.

Research Notes
Results from art scientific studies are reviewed here.

An updated list of publications of Boon and coworkers is provided with links to AMOLF/Publications and Research Gate where the papers can be downloaded.

PhD theses from the AMOLF, MOLART and De Mayerne program
The PhD research supervised by Boon resulted in a number of art and archeological oriented books that can be downloaded as pdf.