Materials Science and Engineering Department, The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and the UCLA/Getty Conservation IDP, Joint Seminar

Philippe Walter
Sorbonne Universités, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, CNRS UMR 8220, Laboratoire d’archéologie moléculaire et structurale, LAMS, F-75005, Paris, France

Advanced analytical techniques applied on Cultural heritage materials shed new lights on ancient technologies and help for the preservation of the artefacts. The precious character of the most famous works of art and their uniqueness imply particular cautions and require instruments which may give the maximum of information directly on the objects, in-situ in the museums or in the archaeological sites.
The implementation of new analytical tools, including mobile instruments, allows a deep insight on the archaeological and artistic materials, from the millimeter to the nanometer scales. During this lecture, we will first describe how the painters were able to create the perception of depth in their paintings by modulating carefully the relationship between shadows and light, thanks to the realization of dark areas, the work in sub-layers and the choice of pigments. Then we will show some results of chemical analyses on paintings by Leonardo da Vinci that give a better understanding of the production, the transformation and his properly use of natural pigments and chemicals.

Philippe Walter is Director of the Laboratory of Molecular and Structural Archaeology (CNRS-Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris). He is developing new analytical tools adapted to the study of ancient materials. His main research interests focus on the use of analytical chemistry to understand the development of chemistry for health and beauty during antiquity as well as the elaboration of new painting materials, for instance during the Renaissance. He has written about 230 scientific publications and organized two exhibitions, the first in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (2002) and the second in the Musée National du Moyen Age in Paris (2009). He received an MS degree in Physics at the École Normale Supérieure de Saint-Cloud, Lyon, and a PhD in Geochemistry from Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse in 1993. He was awarded the CNRS silver medal in 2008 and received the Franklin-Lavoisier Prize from the Chemical Heritage Society and the Maison de la Chimie in Philadelphia (USA) in 2010. He was appointed as Professor at College de France for the academic year 2013-2014, with the chair Liliane Bettencourt of Innovative Technology.

Date(s) - Oct 07, 2016
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

2101 Engineering V
420 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles CA 90095