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September 28, 2013

Conservation’s Around the River Bend! Duh Pocahontas.

I think I found my calling.

Normally when I get asked the question “So…what are you going to do with your Art History degree?” I default to the general “oh, you know, maybe curate a museum or work in a gallery or something…”
Master deflection skills, clearly.

But though I’d sy those things, I never really meant them. When I chose my majors, I did it based more on a vibe than anything else. I just felt like it would make me happy, so I went with it, not thinking in the slightest about what I’d do with it later, if anything.

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So yesterday, what started as me waking up in the late afternoon to meander down to my Caravaggio class for a field trip ended with me sitting in the Worcester Art Museum’s newly renovated Baroque gallery next to life drawing class, listening to the conservator talk about how she managed to repair the beautiful painting before us.

And I just had a moment.

I was blown away not only by the techniques she used and all the little details she had to pay attention to, but also the lab itself. That thing was beautiful. So much natural light was able to stream in from the skylights, there were paintings and frames everywhere…
[Seriously, click on that link. I can't post pictures of the lab for copyright issues, but it's great.]
And if I end up pursuing this (psh, who am I kidding, of course I will), that means I can get back into science a bit! Which, believe it or not, I have missed. I used to love science back in the day, but stopped studying it because I didn’t like the pressure haha. But WHO CARES, I can be an ART CONSERVATOR! :D
Different from an art restorer, in the sense that restorers “tend to have been trained as artisans,” and restore the painting according to what it used to look like. Conservators “attempt to perform the minimum treatment necessary” and “addresses the work of art not only from the aesthetic but from a materials point of view” when trying to preserve the image. (Source)

Yes, I had to look it up too. ;)

So I’m in the process of contacting the WAM’s conservator to see if I can interview her about how she went about getting into the field. And one of my roommate’s friend’s actually told me of a mutual friend’s mom (sorry, web of people you don’t know) who is the head conservator at the Getty museum in California! So I’m going to attempt to nonchalantly be a huge suck up hahah.
No shame.

Additionally (I’ll get off this topic soon, I promise. I’m just so darn excited!), I’ve been looking into grad school options, so I can actually gain some experience in the field. I haven’t delved that far in yet, but one of the first schools I came across was actually the University of Oregon, aka where my little sister just started attending this year.
We could go to school together!! Ahhhh too weird, too weird.

But I digress.

I’m also currently working on a couple beginnings of research paper preparations. For my Islamic Arts class, I’ve decided to do a paper and presentation on the blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture (two usually totally antithetical styles) in the Agra Fort, India.

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Despite being in this class for the last five weeks or so, I still don’t know nearly as much about Islamic art and architecture as I do with, say, the Italian Baroque. So I chose the Agra Fort simply because I was able to visit it a few summers ago, and I knew it would make it a lot more interesting and would make more sense to me when trying to visualize it.

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I’m so excited.

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