The Foundation constantly investigates its collection for the benefit of scholarship and art history knowledge. The international science team appointed aims to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of the Foundation’s holdings. It works in collaboration with the conservation institutes, laboratories, and other museum staff and external fellow professionals and concentrates on collection key works, balancing education, research and consultancy.
The research focuses on chemistry, physics, materials science, conservation science, polymer science, microscopy as well as technical examination of artworks constituents and response to environments such as pigment and other artists’ materials analysis. The techniques available to the scientists include X-ray fluorescence (XRF), optical microscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman microscopy, ultra violet and visible spectroscopy.
The need to care for and technically understand objects in the collection is fundamental to the Foundation’s activities. In order to understand our own collection we may need to seek and research comparative material in other collections; other researchers may also need access to items in our care to complete their own studies that, in turn, contribute to our own knowledge. Dissemination of the results is an imperative part of the overall process. International collaborative projects are also undertaken on a regular basis.
We share our finds and knowledge with colleagues around the world and have also benefited from collaboration with external institutes. Science provides an insight into the past through research on the collection. Using both traditional and the very latest methods and equipment they are able to answer questions that help with the interpretation and understanding of the collection.