MURALS & WORKS
- More than Meets the Eye: Technique and Technology of Conservation Analytics
- Parma Conserves Historic Mural in Manhattan
- The Story of a Post Office Mural
- New Deal Mural Brought Back to Public After 40 Years
- Chicago Public Library and PARMA Conservation presented with 2010 Marian and Leon Depres Preservation Awards by the Hyde Park Historical Society
- Parma Conservation, With the Assistance of Bernacki & Associates, Restoring Historic Blackstone Library Murals
- A Work of Art Isn’t Always What It Appears to Be
- Tale of Two Chairs
- Treatment of a Regency Style Marquetry Table
- The Courage to Conserve a Formidable Beast
- Begin at the Beginning: Historical Research and Forensic Sleuthing Inform the Restoration of a 1943 Alfa Romeo
- Care and Maintenance of Gilt Objects
- Warm Touch: Louis Majorelle’s "Les Orchidées” Vitrine Conservation
- Good Things Come in Small Packages: Historic Dollhouse Restoration
- Restoring the Artifacts of Mother Cabrini and Discovering Her Legacy
- Behind the Glass: Mother Cabrini's Display Cabinets Exhibit not only Artifacts, but Chicago's Heritage
- Not All that Glitters Is Gold
- Conservation Revisited
- Conservation of Pieta, Wood Relief by Malvina Hoffman
- The Art of Gilding
ART & PRECIOUS
- Basic Guidelines for Preservation
- Art and Materials Conservation Program at Columbia College Chicago
- Renovation, Restoration, Preservation, Conservation
- Historically Sidetracked: Volunteering at the Illinois Railway Museum
- Wax and Furniture
- Preservation and Care of Antique and Fine Wood Furniture
- Evaluating an Appraiser
Technique and Technology of Conservation Analytics
At Parma, “The Past” defines much of our work as conservators. We confront history each and every day by caring for artwork, immersing ourselves in research, collaborating with scholars, even duplicating antiquated artistic technique. Yet tools and techniques of conservation go far beyond ochre and egg tempera. In fact, parts of the conservation process can make one feel less like a member of CDI and more like a cast member on CSI.
Case in point: analytics. At the intersection of high art and high-tech, analytics balance the delicate, subjective nature of conservation with a dose of pure science. Services like radiographic and ultraviolet imaging cull technical and historic information from works of art, imparting knowledge to determine the conservation course of action. Further, analytics can solve puzzles of provenance, providing clues vital to authenticity. Because the best possible preservation begins with investigation, Parma offers a full line of analytical services. Below are three devices in-house at Parma Laboratories particularly helpful in mining data behind art’s greatest masterpieces:
Exhibit A: The X-Ray Gun
X-Ray analysis is the newest addition to Parma Conservation’s arsenal of services and a valuable resource in the examination of canvas and panel paintings. As in medicine, radiography takes a work of art and delves “down to the bone.” The ability to see beneath a painting’s surface allows authenticating elements like structural additions, pentimenti, false craquelure, and even entirely hidden artwork to, quite literally, come to light.
Exhibit B: The Surgical Microscope
Parma offers not one, but two medical grade microscopes for detailed art analysis. The most recent addition to Parma’s laboratories is a Leica M651 stereo microscope. Complete with micro-optics utilizing visual elements from 20 micrometers to 1 millimeter, the device is, as the Italians say, “The Ultimo.” Along with techie appeal, microscopic analysis locates the tiniest of articles within a painting. For example, formerly indecipherable saponifications (chemical alterations to paint pigment) become clear and visible to the naked eye.
Exhibit C: The Infrared Camera
While many associate infrared technology with Hollywood-inspired espionage, these machines equally “spy” covert secrets within artwork. Contrast enhancement identifies hidden contours muted by fading, sharpening them into a likeness perfectly prepped for analysis. Advanced image processing is particularly beneficial to ancient and delicate artworks. Infrared light penetrates the layers of a painting to reveal concealed intricacies without affecting the surface. The painting is analyzed non-invasively and the truth, finally, is out there.
All artwork has a narrative and quality analytical services add “exposition”. Whether distinguishing between restoration and original, determining natural or synthetic varnish, or even discovering a portrait beneath a pastoral, analytics recount fascinating back story. With over 30-years experience, the “special agents” at Parma Conservation are ready to tackle any art mystery. Case closed.
Visit our website at www.parmaconservation.com
Visit Parma Conservation website at www.parmaconservation.com