Woody Internship: Colonial Williamsburg Week 3

Part of a curators job is to answer inquiries about objects in their field. We received an inquiry about the authorship of a pastel and I was asked to research it to learn more about the piece. I began researching information about the possible author to learn about what time period he was working in and what area. I went over to the Rockefeller library and found a book on the artist that talked about his signature style and artistic training. As I read more about the artist I began to doubt his authorship of this pastel. The signature did not match up correctly and I could find no other proof of this artist completing a pastel. I reached out to the author of the book who was an expert on this particular artist, and she confirmed my suspicions of this pastel being by someone else. It was very interesting to learn the process of how painting curators authenticate the authorship of paintings. After this project I worked on cataloging a group of x-rays that had been taken of paintings in our collection. I entered the x-rays into the museum system so that it would be easier to know which paintings had x-rays and which ones did not. X-rays help the conservators know more about the piece than what is just on the surface. These two major projects wrapped up week three!


  1. njgoing says:

    This is interesting; I had no idea that museums performed all of this work behind the scenes. It is easy to walk into the Muscarelle, Hirshorn, or Renwick and take for granted the pieces on display. I will look more into what information x-rays might provide to museums… I also find it interesting that a museum would accept an art piece without knowledge of the artist.

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