Conservation

Dürer and the Woodcut

The woodcut, one of the earliest printmaking techniques, became popular in Europe around 1400. Woodcuts are produced by carving an image into a block of wood, usually a hard fruitwood, cut parallel to its grain. Only the lines and shapes of the drawn design are left standing in relief; all other areas of the wood are carefully excised with sharp woodworking tools, such as gouges, chisels, and knives.

Edgar Degas

In the early 1890s, when Degas' work became increasingly less naturalistic, he produced a series of pure landscapes that freely interpret the scenery he encountered on his way to visit the painter and printmaker Pierre-Georges Jeanniot in the village of Diénay, near Dijon. There Degas produced about fifty monotypes, which he enhanced with vivid pastel work.

From Drawing to Print: Abraham Bloemaert's Danaë Receiving the Golden Rain

Until the nineteenth century it was common for works of art to be disseminated in the form of prints. But how was an artist's work transferred from paper to printing plate? In this post, we take a close look at a seventeenth-century drawing by the Dutch painter, draftsman, and printmaker Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651) and the engraving derived from it.

Ingres at the Morgan: Materials and Methods

Whether he was making portraits of family and friends or preliminary studies for important history paintings, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) created drawings of great subtlety and nuance. Close examination of the paper and media allows us to glimpse the working methods of one of the greatest draftsmen and portraitists in French history.

Jane Austen's Writing: A Technical Perspective

While it is conjectured that Jane Austen wrote over 3,000 letters, only 160 have survived. Of these, the Morgan owns fifty-one—more than any other institution in the world. After examining this extensive resource, the conservators of the Morgan's Thaw Conservation Center were able to make several general observations regarding the materials used to produce handwritten manuscripts and letters in early nineteenth-century England.

Jean-Joseph Chamant: The Lost Sketchbook

Take a peek inside a rare and fascinating 18th-century artist's sketchbook of theater designs, recently discovered at NYU's Villa La Pietra, in Florence, Italy. This video highlights the little-known history of an itinerant French artist, Joseph Chamant, as revealed through a collaborative material examination and conservation treatment of his sketchbook.

Jim Dine: Drawing with Light

Jim Dine was inspired by a 1984 trip to The Glyptothek in Munich, to create a series of figurative drawings based on Greek and Roman antiquities; they would ultimately function as positive transparencies in the production of the heliogravure prints (helio — "light"; gravure — "engraving") for his limited edition book Glyptotek, 1988.