The Chemistry and Materials Science of Art and Cultural Objects

Johanna Bernstein (Assistant Dean for International Programs, Chemistry and Chemical Biology)

What is that sculpture made of? What is Japanese lacquer? How does an artist choose which materials to use? How long will these materials last? We will answer these questions by looking at art and cultural objects from the point of view of an artist or craftsman, a scientist, an art conservator and a historian. Using a series of case studies from museums and cultural institutions around the world, this seminar will show how technological advances have influenced the creation of art and our ability to examine cultural objects.