Sources and Serendipity: Testimonies of Artists' Practice

Erma Hermens, Joyce H. Townsend (eds)

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ISBN: 9781904982524
Binding: Paperback
Dimensions: 297 x 210 mm
Pages: 173
Illustrations: 94 colour, 113 halftone

The papers in this volume focus on the exploration of artists' practice found in the evidence recorded in visual and written documents, treatises, manuals, correspondence, ledgers, diaries and journals, paintings, drawings, cartoons, prints, photographs, as well as from the testimony of collections of pigments. Early accounts are compared to the latest analytical findings, and past deductions about art technology are questioned and critically assessed.

Topics include: techniques used by 15th-century Romanian illuminators and early modern printers; documentary evidence on the use of moulds in the production of tin relief work from the 13th to the 16th century; a discussion of 'impossible recipes' from medieval times; the making of colours and special-use inks by scribes; an evaluation of the sources for the Strasbourg manuscript family; a comparison between Rubens' retouching practice as described in contemporary sources, eye witness accounts and the paintings themselves; a training manual for the later 18th-century Spanish military cadet; Oudry's lectures on painting technique to the French Royal Academy; Vigani's 18th-century cabinet containing 80 organic and 90 inorganic art materials; the 19th-century Austrian artist Kupelweiser's extensive sketches for a monumental fresco; James McNeill Whistler's use of memory drawing; a study of materials from a late 19th-century Persian workshop of the master potter Ali Muhammad Isfahani; and contemporary art practice as described in artists' interviews, notebooks and diaries.

This publication is a collection of papers from the third symposium of the Art Technological Source Research Working Group held in 2008.

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Reviews
Individually the papers provide great and varied insights into art technological sources of all types and I look forward to the outcomes of the next ATSR symposium 'Technology and Interpretation - Reflecting the Artist's Process'...
The Picture Restorer 37 (Autumn 2010) 51-52

"Sources and Serendipity. Testimonies of Artists’ Practice" integra interesantes contribuciones sobre la práctica artísitica de diferentes periodos y especialidades, tanto a partir de fuentes escritas (tratados y manuales, correspondencia, libros de cuentas, diarios y periódicos…) como visuales (pinturas, grabados, fotografías, película…)…La variedad de temas y el rigor de los estudios presentados convierten a esta publicación, de igual modo que las otras de la serie, en una referencia bibliográfica imprescindible para la sumergirse en el estudio de la tecnología del arte.
Ge-conservación/conservação 1 (2010) 272-274

This compilation of articles is essential reading - and not only for the wealth of specific information that the papers contain about techniques in a variety of media...[Above] all, the work of ATSR is extremely important as a source of inspiration - at this critical moment in the development of the field of technical art history - that we can (in fact, must) be as rigorous and thoughtful in our use of sources as scholars in other branches of art history.
Studies in Conservation 56 (2011) 76-77