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Battle of the Nudes

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Conservation Feature
Discover the Battle of the Nudes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Katharine Lee Reid, Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Bruce Christman, Chief Conservator at the Cleveland Museum of Art for their support and the opportunity to carry out this project.

A great deal of thanks and credit is owed to several individuals who brought to this project enthusiasm and commitment as well as specialized areas of expertise and skill; their combined contributions made this project possible. First and foremost, Brendan Curtin, a computer imaging specialist, spent many hours preparing nearly 80 images for this web-feature: his excellent work included the very exacting task of assembling the thermal IR images. Larry Davis, an infrared imaging specialist, captured all of the infrared images used in this web-feature and was instrumental in advancing our appreciation of thermal infrared imaging as a means to examine and document art - particularly works of art on paper. Irene Brückle, paper conservator and associate professor of art conservation at the State University College at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York was able to study the CMA impression of Pollaiuolo's Battle of the Nudes in person and shared valuable insight as to how the restorations were done. Ms. Brückle also conveyed pertinent information about Schweidler from her close friend and mentor, paper conservator Christa Gaedhe (1922 - 2002). Andrea Chevalier, painting conservator with the Intermuseum Conservation Association in Oberlin, Ohio provided fluent and accurate translations from German to English for selected chapters from Schweidler's restoration manual.

I am also indebted to Shelley Langdale, (assistant curator of prints and drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, formerly assistant curator of prints at the CMA) for her tenacious as well as generous and collaborative approach to research. This project really began over two years ago and developed out of the research carried out in preparation for the CMA focus exhibition, "Battle of the Nudes": Pollaiuolo's Renaissance Masterpiece, which Shelley curated. The opportunity to work with Shelley over the years on the various Pollaiuolo projects has tremendously enriched the work presented here and has been a most enjoyable and rewarding endeavor.

I would also like to express my gratitude to Holly Witchey and Mike Hilliard, manager and assistant manager, respectively, of new media initiatives at the Cleveland Museum of Art. I am particularly indebted to Holly for her ability to envision the project's potential from its inception; she enthusiastically embraced the ideas for this web-feature and has been a constant source of encouragement throughout.

Special thanks are also owed to my valued co-worker, paintings conservator Marcia Steele who assisted with all of the infrared work, demonstrated sustained interest in all aspects of the project and was accessible for consultation and advice throughout.

Many additional members of the Cleveland Museum of Art staff contributed to this project. The entire staff of the photography department assisted in various ways to provide the necessary images. Special thanks to the museum's associate photographer Gary Kirchenbauer for capturing and preparing the high quality, life-size digital images of the engraving that were ultimately used to create many of the illustrations used in this web-feature. Head photographer, Howard Agriesti generously provided the technical description for modified raking light photography. Mike Brugnoni and Marvin Richardson of the information technology department also provided image-related support. Ann Abid and the staff of the Ingalls Library, particularly Christine Edmundson, Lou Adrean, Jennifer Vickers, Barbara Billings, and Maria C. Downey provided important and much appreciated research assistance. Joan Brickley, senior administrative assistant to the prints and drawings department was a tremendous help with the task of researching the print's provenance. Louise Richards, former curator of prints and drawings at the Cleveland Museum of Art, was also consulted regarding provenance. Her excellent memory combined with her detailed records from the curatorial files made a cogent reconstruction of the print's elusive past possible. Jane Glaubinger curator of prints and Heather Lemonedes assistant curator of prints reviewed the text for the web feature and provided important feedback regarding content. Judith DeVere, senior administrative assistant in conservation carried out many helpful tasks.

Much of the groundwork for this project, particularly with regards to appreciating issues of impression quality, came from a curatorial/conservation colloquy sponsored by the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., in June of 2000. This colloquy brought together ten different impressions of the engraving from eight institutions and afforded the participants -- print scholars, curators and conservators -- a rare opportunity for side by side, close-up comparison of these magnificent engravings. Cleveland's first state impression was among the impressions, and both Shelley Langdale and I participated in this event. I am particularly indebted to Shelley Fletcher, head paper conservator at the National Gallery of Art, who was a principal organizer and contributor to the colloquy and the photographer behind many of the comparative detailed illustrations used in this web-feature.

I would also like to thank Dan Kushel, professor with the Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College for providing the correct infrared imaging terminology; any innacuracies remaining in the document are mine. Thanks also to Roy Perkinson, head paper conservator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, for corroborating some of the anectdotal biographical information about Max and Carl Schweidler. And finally, thanks to John Noel Reifel artist/engraver and professor of printmaking at Kent State University for providing technological information on early engraving techniques and materials and for helping me to pursue additional queries raised by this research.


Moyna Stanton
Conservator of Works of Art on Paper
Cleveland Museum of Art


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