Chimei Museum has launched an online exhibition and database website, titled "Peeking Behind," using images and texts to showcase the process of inspecting and analyzing paintings by museum conservators, giving viewers a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes findings.
Museum deputy director Patricia Liao (廖婉如) said this will be the first online knowledge database that combines technology of painting inspection and art history research. Chimei Museum plans to continuously accumulate related knowledge and update content on the website.
"Peeking Behind" site is based on "technical art history" research method, integrating cross-disciplinary research on scientific testing, restoration, preservation and art history, interpreting and cataloging the style, image analysis and material status of the masterpieces, in addition to comprehensively comparing and contrasting historical texts and concrete evidence achieved through scientific investigation, so as to find interpretation close to the original works.
The site has two fundamental sections, titled "Peeking Behind Technology," and "Peeking Behind Materials." "Peeking Behind Technology" explains how to use ultraviolet, infrared, and other optical detection methods to expose the invisible features of the paintings. "Peeking Behind Materials" explains the raw materials used in oil paintings, and different layering elements of a painting piece.
Liao pointed that after understanding basic technical art history knowledge, museum visitors can move on to the "Peeking Behind Case Studies" section, the actual art works interpretation and analysis. Through reviewing traces of original painting under the finalized painting, they will further understand the changes in the artist’s creative thinking process, and it will be easier for the works to be appreciated.
Liao added that the database, through open resources, aims to share with the public and to improve the accessibility of art collection research. By viewing the artworks from the perspective of a museum conservator or archivist, audience can make a connection with the original artist, and further cherish these historical assets.