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Technical Art History in the Museum
Projects for K-12
All didactics found in the "Painting Reconstructions" section are
available for short-term loan and are intended for educational and
instructional purposes. Special considerations will be given to museums
containing paintings that are associated with the Samuel H. Kress
collection, although other institutions may be eligible as well. In
addition to the painting reconstructions, up to five sets of "raw
materials" are also available for educational use. These sets contain
jared samples of raw inorganic pigments (e.g. lapis lazuli, yellow
ochre, charcoal), parchments scraps, gold leaf, cochineal insects, and a
dog's tooth. All of these samples represent materials that were
traditionally used by Old Master painters.
About the Pigment Kits
Many of the educational exercises included on this website are
specifically geared towards inspiring creativity in the classroom,
whether it be through artistic practice, discussion sessions, or
focusing on the "materiality" of art. As there is a rising interest in
promoting interdisciplinary topics, the examination and analysis of
artworks is a wonderful way to introduce subjects relating to science,
history, and preservation. The analysis of pigments, for example, is a
topic that lends itself exceptionally well to the objectives outlined by
the STEAM movement. Students can learn first-hand the ancient methods
used to extract organic dyes from insects, roots, berries, and other
natural products or that certain pigments can be used for dating
purposes (e.g. zinc white). For more advanced students, the condition
and history of an artwork can be used to introduce a number of
analytical techniques such as X-radiography, infrared reflectography,
and more. The Samuel H. Kress Foundation recognizes and supports those
who are dedicated to the promotion of art history and art conservation
and encourages educators to use the resources presented throughout this