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Digitization Technology: A New Frame for Art Research

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0108
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X-ray fluorescence imaging of Nativity oil painting at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (R.B. Toth Associates)

Digitized online artwork offers the only way most people can enjoy and research art while museums and galleries are closed because of the pandemic. In addition to making art more freely available for research, advanced imaging can also reveal new information about art objects. Digital technologies that capitalize on a variety of light and energy levels provide insights into paintings, prints, sketches, and other art works, offering new perspectives on their elements, creation, and history. 

Michael B. Toth, ‎president of R. B. Toth Associates, discusses some of his work applying the latest imaging technologies—from high-resolution cameras and advanced lighting to X-ray synchrotrons—to reveal previously hidden aspects of artworks dating from the Renaissance to today in the collections of institutions around the globe. Toth covers how that information is used by researchers and highlights projects that involved sketches by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, as well as a potential da Vinci painting. He also shares the surprises he encountered during investigations into a Rubens painting.

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Inside Science

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.