Multimodal Imaging Spectroscopy of Works of Art: registration, analysis, and interpretation

Professor Murray Loew, School of Engineering and Applied Science at George Washington University, and 2013 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology, sponsored by DSTO

A Fulbright 2014 Public Lecture presented in association with the Australian–American Fulbright Commission

16 April, 2014

Conservation of paintings requires knowledge of the artist’s materials used, such as pigments, binders, and preparatory layers. Ideally, the entire painting would be characterized, but historically, identification of those materials has been made by microscopic examination and removal of small samples from a limited number of sites on the painting. The samples are examined using a variety of analytical chemical methods to identify their components. Such analytical techniques, while powerful, cannot be used to survey an entire painting; there is great interest therefore in developing in situ methods that are capable of scanning an entire painting. Such methods would offer not only a comprehensive examination of the artwork but also allow the generation of images, or maps, of the pigments used. We describe a new imaging instrument and the registration methods that allow the acquisition and highly accurate alignment of multimodality images, which then permits spectroscopy to identify and map the vibrational overtone bands associated with paint binders. The scans (hyperspectral infrared, x-ray fluorescence, visible) then are analyzed to provide maps of the composition of the binding materials used in the paints. That knowledge will help historians to better understand, and conservators to better restore, important works of art. Analyses of a number of Old Masters and impressionist works are provided

Professor Murray Loew

Professor Murray Loew is Director of the Biomedical Engineering Program in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at George Washington University. He is the inaugural recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology, sponsored by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). His research is in the area of medical imaging and image analysis, image registration, and image compression. Through his Fulbright, Professor Loew will come to the DSTO laboratories in Adelaide for five months to work on object tracking and image and data fusion. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and of AIMBE

Supported by the The Fulbright Commission and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)

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