The Art of Discovery

Stewart Wills

Imaging scientists at the US National Gallery of Art are building an optical toolkit for investigating masterpieces ancient and modern.

Kathryn Dooley and John K. Delaney, Kathryn Dooley, imaging scientist, and John K. Delaney, senior imaging scientist, conduct imaging of Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Red Hat at the National Gallery of Art. [Courtesy of National Gallery of Art]

Most visitors to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, USA, are struck by the wealth of beauty and emotion conveyed by the painted artworks. But to John Delaney, the museum’s senior imaging scientist, and his colleague, imaging scientist Kathryn Dooley, what’s beneath the surface of those works holds a lot of intrigue, too.

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