Science in Art: The Chemistry of Art Materials and Conservation

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9/10 stars
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Science in Art: The Chemistry of Art Materials and Conservation

Course Details

Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • On demand

Course Provider

edX online courses
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be tau...
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
21556 reviews

Course Description

How do artists create visual effects? In order to create an artistic impression, artists select materials that allow image formation, and that lend color, emphasis, shape, and size to the object created.

A scientist might follow up by asking, why those materials?  What characteristics do they have that allow them to embody the artist’s intent? How durable are they? Will they maintain the same qualities, both physical and aesthetic, they had when the work left the studio?

Conservation science further notes that all materials deteriorate over time, and then asks a follow-up question: What physical interventions are possible to maintain, preserve and protect the work as the artist intended? Whatever is done to the art object, the result must be to make the work recognizable as the artist’s work or the result is a failure.  

That is a key goal of this course: to understand, from a chemical point of view, how conservati...

How do artists create visual effects? In order to create an artistic impression, artists select materials that allow image formation, and that lend color, emphasis, shape, and size to the object created.

A scientist might follow up by asking, why those materials?  What characteristics do they have that allow them to embody the artist’s intent? How durable are they? Will they maintain the same qualities, both physical and aesthetic, they had when the work left the studio?

Conservation science further notes that all materials deteriorate over time, and then asks a follow-up question: What physical interventions are possible to maintain, preserve and protect the work as the artist intended? Whatever is done to the art object, the result must be to make the work recognizable as the artist’s work or the result is a failure.  

That is a key goal of this course: to understand, from a chemical point of view, how conservation protocols and the material aspects of an art work allow a better appreciation of an artwork and its creation, as well as confidence that it is the artist’s work.

These are not new problems. According to Leonardo da Vinci, the study of art should include the following topics:

  • A knowledge of materials
  • The chemistry of colors
  • The mathematics of composition
  • The laws of perspective
  • The illusions of chiaroscuro

As the briefest study of Leonardo's life shows, he was clearly ahead of his time in wanting to understand the reasons for a vast array of natural and artificial phenomena. Even so, a thorough understanding of those subjects listed above still escapes us today – but, progress has been made and that progress is at once the subject matter and the goal of this course.


Course banner painting: Unknown (previously attributed to Vincent van Gogh), Poppies, c.1886-c.1887, oil on canvas, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Bequest of Anne Parrish Titzell, 1957.617

Reviews 9/10 stars
4 Reviews for Science in Art: The Chemistry of Art Materials and Conservation

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Ileana Hernández profile image
Ileana Hernández profile image

Ileana Hernández

9/10 starsCompleted
3 years ago
I will hope a second part for this course! Very interesting, good videos and activities with good proffesor. Thank you so much
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student

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years ago
It is a really informative course about the conservation and restoration of art piece that arouse my interest into this subject. I do hope that we can further develop the related knowledge and career, look forward to the more advanced course!
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Carmen Sanchez profile image
Carmen Sanchez profile image

Carmen Sanchez

10/10 starsTaking Now
3 years ago
Anyone wishing to learn the restoration process this is a great beginners course..Very interesting and informative. Thank you..
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Carol Schaudt profile image
Carol Schaudt profile image

Carol Schaudt

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years ago
I am hoping that the professor will create a Part 2 to this course. I would like the course to take place inside a conservators lab and take us step by step through a couple actual conservations / restorations.
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  • 1 stars
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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.