Microdome imaging workshop at the J.P. Getty Museum

RICH000535Between January 27th and February 3th the RICH team has been working together with the scientists and conservators of the J.P. Getty Museum and Research Institute in Los Angeles. Various artifacts of the Museum collection have been monitored and studied with Photometric Stereo such as medieval manuscripts, master drawings, bookbindings and daguerreotypes.

A daguerreotype by Jacob Byerly (1807-1883), left full image made with the White Light Microdome, middle a detail with raking light, right same detail with shaded filter showing physical degradation. Click on the image to enlarge;  collection Getty Museum

A daguerreotype by Jacob Byerly (1807-1883); left full image made with the White Light Microdome; middle a detail with raking light; right same detail with shaded filter showing degradation. Click on the image to enlarge;  collection J. P. Getty Museum

Both White Light and Multi-Spectral Microdomes have been used. The RICH Project, the technical background and the research targets have been highlighted the on February 2nd during the lecture: Microdomes and Manuscripts: Multi-Spectral and Photometric Stereo Imaging for Illuminations, Drawings and Documentary Heritage. After the lecture, a hands-on workshop was given at the Imaging Studio of the Getty Center.

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Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta (Georg Bocskay & Joris Hoefnaegel, 1561-62), folio 33; image with White Light Microdome, collection Getty Museum

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Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta (Georg Bosky & Joris Hoefnaegel, 1561-62),  detail, folio 33; Multi-Spectral Microdome; top left shaded filter; top middle Infrared light (850 nm); top right Red light (623 nm); below left Green light (523 nm); below middle Blue light (460 nm), below right UV light (365 nm)

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RMAH – MS Imaging of Mummy Portrait

In collaboration with the RICH project and the ESAT labs (both KU Leuven) the Royal Museums of Art and History coordinates a pioneer project in which the multi-light Portable Light Dome is transformed into a Multi Spectral dome equipped with IR, Red, Green, Blue and UV LED light sources. This short video demonstrates the acquisition process with the fist developed MS microdome prototype of a Fayum mummy portrait (Egypt, Roman era) at the Brussels museum.

more info: http://www.kmkg-mrah.be/conservation-ir-uv-and-3d-imaging-egyptian-execration-statuettes

Imaging embroidered bookbindings at the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam

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In preparation of workshop on Historical Embroidered Bookbindings at the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam this summer, the RICH team monitored 15 precious historic bookbindings (16th – 19th century) with delicate needlework on velvet, silk and satin last week. The imaging was done with the white led microdome and with the multispectral microdome. Weaving, stitching and embroidering techniques were revealed in great detail, taking the researchers view through the eye of the needle.

Results will be presented during the 3-Days Seminar on Embroidered Bindings, Wednesday 19 – Friday 21 August, Summer School History of the Book at the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam, Oude Turfmarkt 129, 17-28 August 2015. See: http://bijzonderecollecties.uva.nl/en/what-s-on/events/content/events/2014/08/summer-school-history-of-the-book.html

Newest acquisition of the KU Leuven University Library monitored with the Multispectral Microdome

MS1993, folio 08R with normal and IR light; folio 45R with visual and false color IR

KU Leuven, MS1993, folio 008R with normal and IR light; folio 045R with visual and false color IR

In May 2015 the KU Leuven University Library acquired a unique illuminated manuscript from the Celestine monastery of Arenberg (Leuven, Belgium). The title “Preparationes ante missam” (“Preparations for the mass ‘) was written and illuminated in 1582 in the Celestine monastery in Heverlee, Leuven by the later prior Petrus Angeli. The manuscript is remarkably small in size (100 x 65 mm), and has 34 illuminations. At the beginning of the book Angeli painted eight heraldic weapons, held by female figures, angels, soldiers or ‘wildemannen ‘, followed with sixteen full-page miniatures. They are meticulously painted in warm and brilliant colors and finished with shell gold, depicting scenes of the Old and New Testament. The dedication miniature on folio 45 refers to the Croy’s family, members of the Knights of the Golden Fleece.

Last week the manuscript was examined in the Imaging Lab of the University Library with the new Multispectral Microdome developed in the framework of the RICH project. First conclusions are that the ‘cartouches’ and the coat of arms in the manuscript remained blank and were never overpainted. Moreover, the results showed with IR light that there was no underdrawing made with a carbon based medium, but probably some outline drawing of very small individual figures by a transfer technique. The false color imaging of folio 045r revealed a complex mixed color palette, characteristic for the late 16th century illumination technique. The coming academic year, the newly arrived manuscript will be examined and analyzed to reveal it’s hidden features.

Workshop on multispectral imaging

The past days (May 11-13) the RICH team organized a workshop on multispectral imaging at the Imaging Lab of the University Library KU Leuven, which coincides with the implementation of the Multispectral Microdome. Mike Toth, Bill Christens-Barry and Alberto Campagnolo set up their imaging system for multispectral capture developed during the Archimedes Palimpsest project. Eric Joakim of Phase One kindly provided an IQ260 Achromatic digital back and IXR camera for capture.

Mike Toth, Lieve Watteeuw, Alberto Campagnolo, Bruno Vandermeulen, Bill Christens-Barry and Eric Joakim

Mike Toth, Lieve Watteeuw, Alberto Campagnolo, Bruno Vandermeulen, Bill Christens-Barry and Eric Joakim, photo Mike Toth

Western and eastern paper, parchment and papyrus documents and archaeological objects such as Egyptian execration statuettes were monitored. These objects were captured through 16 different spectral bands, ranging from UV to IR. We were specifically looking at censored, deleted and faded texts, pictorial layers and false color visualisation of polychrome layers of medieval illuminations.

The Timbuktu manuscripts, which are being researched and digitized at the moment at the Imaging Lab, were also the focus of attention.

Preparing Egyptian Execration Statuettes for capture

Preparing Egyptian Execration Statuettes for capture

Focussing for multispectral capture

Focussing before multispectral capture

Lieve Watteeuw, Mike Toth, Bill Christens-Barry, Alberto Campagnolo and Eric Joakim at work in the Imaging Lab of the University Library

Lieve Watteeuw, Mike Toth, Bill Christens-Barry, Alberto Campagnolo and Eric Joakim at work in the Imaging Lab of the University Library

Lieve Watteeuw, Mike Toth, Alberto Campagnolo and Athena Van der Perre looking at a manuscript from Timbuktu

Lieve Watteeuw, Mike Toth, Alberto Campagnolo and Athena Van der Perre looking at a manuscript.

First preliminary results of the Egyptian Execration Statuettes (EES) Project

The EES Project, funded by the Belgian Science Policy agency Belspo (BR/121/PI/EES), aims to create multispectral 3D images of the Egyptian Execration figurines of the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) with the newly developed Multispectral Microdome, developed in the framework of the RICH project, in order to enable a detailed study of the texts without handling the figurines themselves.

The first tests with the MS Microdome (see also blog below) already delivered some very promising results for the figurines inscribed with (red) ochre ink. When comparing the MS Microdome image to the conventional photos, it is clear that the legibility of the faded signs has improved significantly. This gives us the opportunity to reconstruct parts of the inscription which were previously considered to be lost for good.

Based on these first tests, the software can now be further adapted.

E9076 Compilation of different imagesBased on the MS microdome images an otherwise impossible attempt could be made to visualize and detect the at the bottom of the illustration highlighted line of inscription.

Execration statuettes are small figurines, inscribed with hieratic texts, listing the enemies of the Pharaoh. They are dated to the end of the 12th Dynasty (c. 1850 B.C.). The Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) house a large collection of these figurines, obtained by the famous Belgian Egyptologist Jean Capart in 1938. The figurines, made of unbaked clay and inscribed with black or (red) ochre ink, are currently in a very fragile condition.

These first preliminary results were made possible thanks to the continuing efforts by Marc Proesmans of the ESAT labs at the KU Leuven; Bruno Vandermeulen of the KU Leuven Arts Faculty Photolab and the Royal Museums of Art and History team in Brussels: Athena Van der Perre, Vanessa Boschloos, Hendrik Hameeuw and Luc Delvaux.