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Analyzing Artistry: A Scientific and Stylistic Exploration of Art

The intersection of art and science is on display now at the Ringel Gallery. Analyzing Artistry: A Scientific and Stylistic Exploration of Art is a partnership between Purdue Galleries and Purdue Material Engineering. It explores the ways material science and visual analysis are combined to paint an in-depth picture of an artwork’s history.

Guest curator, Allie Brandt, says the exhibition shares how art historians and scientists work together to answer important questions about artworks through the stylistic analysis of an artwork's artistic content and through the scientific testing and analysis of an artwork's physical materials.

The field of material art history has helped the art world join hands with material science and changed significantly the way we approach the materiality, authentication, and conservation of artworks. Dating and authentication of an artwork through the analysis of paint pigments, the discovery of hidden figures through infrared and x-ray imaging, or the discovery of a fake through a full battery of tests allows us to fully understand the past and incorporate that value into the future of artwork.

Several artworks from the Purdue Galleries collection and other regional collections are featured, each serving as a case study through which different types of testing and analysis can be explored and explained.

  • Learn about present-day conservation practices through a nineteenth century still life paintingfrom Conner Prairie by the American artist Severin Roesen that shows how conservators go about restoring and preserving artworks for future generations.
  • See the dating techniques and non-invasive imaging techniques which were used to reveal hidden images under the paint layers of a Madonna and Child on panel believed to be from the fifteenth century.
  • Follow the investigation process and scientific testing methods used by scientists at the Indianapolis Museum of Art's conservation lab in their quest to prove (or disprove) the authenticity of a Moroccan textile.

“The exhibition is particularly important for Purdue students as it showcases the unique intersection of art and science and shows our students who are interested in both fields that it is possible have a career that marries the two together,” says Brandt.

Analyzing Artistry is on display in Ringel Gallery from October 24 through December 16.  The gallery is open Monday through Saturday 10am-7pm (Closed for Thanksgiving from November 19 through 27).

Please join us for a reception held Thursday, December. 8, at 5:30pm in Ringel Gallery, Stewart Center.

About the Galleries: All Purdue Galleries exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.  For class and group visits, contact Erika Kvam at Purdue Galleries at 765-494-3061. For more information, visit or follow @PurdueGalleries on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Writer: Kimberly Daly


Erika Kvam, Director & Head Curator of Purdue Galleries, 765-494-3061,

Allie Brandt, Art History Lecturer and Independent Curator

Abigail Zickmund, Curatorial Intern 

Chelsea Davis, Materials Engineering Advisor Professor

Exhibition Introduction Document

November 2022