Art in Focus: Gazes Returned, The Technical Examination of Early English Panel Painting

Friday, April 13, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012

Art in Focus is an academic initiative for members of the Center’s Student Guide Program through which students are introduced to every aspect of exhibition practice. Students intensify their engagement with the Center’s collections, strengthen their research skills, and test writing in new formats. Student curators select objects for exhibition, write text panels and object labels, and make decisions about installation.

The sixth exhibition in this initiative, Art in Focus: Gazes Returned explored Tudor painting technique and examined the condition of key paintings in the Center’s collection. Works in the collection were examined using a variety of analytical techniques employed in modern conservation practice, such as x-radiography and infrared reflectography, x-ray fluorescence, and polarizing light microscopy, to determine each work’s material makeup, technique of fabrication, and subsequent physical history. Past restorations and current state, issues that affect a picture’s cosmetic appearance and art historical 

Paul van Somer, A Young Girl (detail), ca. 1615, oil on panel, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

interpretation, were explored through a variety of didactic materials including a website, Analytic Tools and Technologies for Examining Tudor and Jacobean Painting, created in conjunction with the exhibition.

The student curators of Art in Focus: Gazes Returned were Hannah Flato (DC ‘14), Ilana Harris-Babou (BR ‘13), Yidan Li (CC ‘14), and Yuxiu Zhong (BA ‘12). The students worked under the guidance of Mark Aronson, Chief Conservator; Jessica David, Assistant Paintings Conservator; Linda Friedlaender, Curator of Education; and Jessica Dilworth, Museum Educator.