Alchemy’s Rainbow: Pigment Science and the Art of Conservation

An Alchemist in his Study

Detail from An Alchemist in His Studio, 17th century, Thomas Wijck. Oil on panel. Gift of Roy Eddleman. CHF Collections. Photograph by Gregory Tobias.

Date: April 16, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m.


Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: No Registration Required

On April 16 the Chemical Heritage Foundation will present a live webcast exploring the colorful (and sometimes risk-filled) history of pigments and painters, and the conservationists who save paintings from the ravages of time and accidental chemistry.

“Alchemy’s Rainbow: Pigment Science and the Art of Conservation” will feature art conservator Mark F. Bockrath and art historian Elisabeth Berry Drago.

Visit at 6:30 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) to view the live webcast. 

Our guests will discuss (and show) the messy and occasionally dangerous process of making paints from pigments and the transition to using paints from tubes. Find out how conservators preserve paintings and why alchemists were so important to painters in early modern times.

Mark F. Bockrath is paintings conservator for Barbara A. Buckley and Associates Painting Conservation. He has worked at the Intermuseum Laboratory, the Washington Conservation Studio, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Winterthur Museum. He has also worked on several of CHF’s paintings.

Elisabeth Berry Drago is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Delaware. She specializes in 17th-century Dutch paintings and the ways such paintings can offer new perspectives on early modern science and artistry.

Think art and science have nothing in common? Elisabeth Berry-Drago explores the connections between chemistry, art, and history in this discussion of artist workshops and alchemical laboratories.


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