The research infrastructure Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation (CATS) was made possible by a considerable donation from the Villum Foundation and the Velux Foundation in 2011. The centre is a partnership between the three Copenhagen based institutions Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK), National Museum of Denmark (NMD) and School of Conservation (KADK) at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation.
CATS was established to:
- Advance interdisciplinary research into museum collections
- Further scholarly understanding and public appreciation of the collections and their long-term safekeeping through preventive and instrumental conservation-restoration
- Generate a deeper understanding of methods and materials of the past
- Pair long-established art historical research of the collections with technical research and state of the art methods and equipment
- Provide analytical services to other institutions
- Offer the expertise of CATS staff and performing scientific analysis to external research projects
- Operate in collaborative projects
- Work with conservation scientists, conservators and curators in Denmark and abroad
Technical Art History
The cornerstone of CATS is technical art history; the interdisciplinary field of research between conservators, natural scientists and scholars from art historical and cultural studies. Technical art history investigates the making and meaning of art works, painting techniques and artists’ materials.
A main objective of the research centre is to develop new and more exact methods to diagnose, treat and preserve our art historical heritage. The exploration of numerous artistic processes aims to shed light on the complex and fascinating cartography of ageing processes within works of art – to contribute to and advance the field of technical art history.