In July we were back at the Worcester Art Museum Conservation lab to give a training in our IMLS sponsored 21st Century Museum Professionals program. The Worcester conservation team was the first conservation lab to see the potential for Reflectance Transformation Imaging for art conservation back in 2006. We built a lighting array for them, and delivered it and a training in May of 2008.
It was great to be back with that team and to see a bit of what they have been up to. We were really impressed with their RTI work on Greek Vases. They gave us permission to post a paper about this work so others in the RTI community can see it.
See below for more information on the publication:
An Evaluation of Decorative Techniques on a Red-Figure Attic Vase from the Worcester Art Museum using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Confocal Microscopy with a Special Focus on the “Relief Line”
Authors: Paula Artal-Isbrand(1), Philip Klausmeyer(2), Winifred Murray(3); 1,2,3 Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 01609, U.S.A.
Decorative features on a Greek red-figure stamnos in the collection of the Worcester Art Museum were examined using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and scanning laser confocal microscopy. These two surface examination tools helped to answer questions relating to the decorative process, particularly the tools and techniques that Attic painters used to create the so-called glossy black “relief lines” and “relief dots.” This research also incorporated fabricated mock-ups to help understand the ancient technology. It was determined that the relief line was not produced by an extruded method, but with a brush made of one or very few hairs, an idea first proposed by Gérard Seiterle in 1976 and termed Linierhaar. It was observed that not one but two distinct types of relief lines exist: the “laid” line (proposed by Seiterle) characterized by a ridge running through the middle of the line and the “pulled” line (proposed in this paper) which has a furrowed profile. Both line types were reproduced with a Linierhaar. Additionally, relief dots were replicated using a conventional brush. Surface examinations of other red-figure vessels using RTI and the confocal microscope suggest these conclusions apply to vessels of this genre as a whole.
Download the Publication: An Evaluation of Decorative Techniques on a Red-Figure Attic Vase from the Worcester Art Museum using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Confocal Microscopy with a Special Focus on the “Relief Line”
Thanks again to the team at Worcester for their wonderful hospitality and collaborative spirit! Keep up the great work.