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September 15, 2014

The Kress Foundation has long supported the training and practice in the field of art conservation through its fellowship and grant programs. Recently, we have extended our support to include technical art history, largely through summer workshops for advanced students and faculty in art history, as well as curatorial and education staff from museums and galleries with Kress Collections.

Summer Teachers Institute in Technical Art History (STITAH)

This summer marked the fourth year of the Summer Teachers Institute in Technical Art History (STITAH), an intensive week-long professional development program intended to offer a broad introduction to technical art history for art history faculty at colleges and universities throughout North America. STITAH is jointly lead by the Conservation Center at the Institute of Fine Arts (New York University) and the Yale University Art Gallery; sixty faculty have participated in the program to date, and we anticipate continuing to support STITAH as it evolves over time.

In addition to practical information about the summer workshop, the website features conservation-related resources including treatment case studies, bibliographic references, a glossary, and a list of other online resources.

Kress Technical Art History: Egg Tempera Painting and Gilding Workshop

A second summer program was launched this year at the University of Delaware: Kress Technical Art History: Egg Tempera and Gilding Workshop. This practical week-long intensive focused on the working methods of early Italian tempera painters, and was attended by curators and educators from Kress Collection museums. The program culminated with each participant creating a small-scale reconstruction of a 15th century Italian egg-tempera painting. By all accounts, the program was, like STITAH, a great success and the Kress Foundation is exploring the possibility of supporting the program for a second year. The instructors of the workshop developed a website to support the program, and its rich content will serve the art history and conservation fields more broadly, and we are delighted to bring this important resource to your attention.

The University of Delaware: Kress Technical Art History: Egg Tempera Workshop website is available at: 

This website offers a series of step-by-step reconstructions of a number of Kress paintings, in addition to a series of virtual reconstructions of paintings from other European Old Masters collections. The UD team has also included sections on Historical Materials & Techniques, and a section on contemporary Examination Methods and Scientific Terms. There are detailed entries for each material and technical term, including definitions, methods and bibliographies. In the Educational Materials section, one can find resources for working with a variety of audiences including museum visitors, undergraduates, and K-12 students.

Finally, we would also like to point out another web-based resource related to art conservation and technical art history. Developed in conjunction with the Kress Program in Paintings Conservation at the NYU Institute of Fine Arts, this website will feature a series of case studies, each focused on a single painting from the distributed Kress Collection, beginning with Giuliano Bugiardini’s Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist from the Allentown Art Museum.

See Institute of Fine Arts, NYU: Kress Paintings Conservation Program: Paintings Research