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The Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts

Advancing the role of science in art

About the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts

Housed within the Office for Research, the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts is a collaborative endeavor that pursues objects-based and objects-inspired scientific research to advance the role of science within art history, curatorial scholarship, archaeology, and conservation. The goals of the program are to enrich the breadth, scope, and reach of scientific studies in the arts and in the wider field of conservation in the United States and abroad, by leveraging resources at the Art Institute of Chicago and materials-related departments at Northwestern University. This research and education initiative also provides enhanced training opportunities for participants through involvement in university-museum multidisciplinary programs.



Submit a project proposal

Start a research project in collaboration with Northwestern University faculty and Art Institute of Chicago staff.

Featured Projects

View our projects which strike a balance between object-based (for example the study of a specific work of art, or groups of objects) and objected-inspired work (for example the development of new investigation methods or testing of a new conservation treatment).


Uncovering Hidden Details in Picasso's La Miséreuse Accroupie

Researchers used multiple modes of light to uncover details hidden beneath the visible surface of Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period painting.
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Discovering the Birthplace of a Picasso Bronze

Scientists use non-invasive techniques to trace five sculptures to foundry in WWII Paris
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Tebtunis Mummy Portraits

A collaboration between Northwestern scientists and Argonne National Laboratory provides insights into an 1,800-year-old mummy and learning about the material microhistory of the painting tradition
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Surface-Shape Studies of Gauguin's Monoprints, Prints, and Drawings

Researchers used computational imaging to evaluate the surface structure of Gauguin’s graphic production with the aim of better understanding his printmaking and transfer processes
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Field Notes & Events

Field Notes


MSE Resource Center Open Lab Sessions

May 30
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

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