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Guidelines for the Technical Examination of Bronze Sculpture

Available June 2024

Edited by David Bourgarit, Jane Bassett, Francesca Bewer, Arlen Heginbotham, Andrew Lacey, and Peta Motture

The essential reference for anyone engaged in the material study of cast bronze sculpture.
Since the fourth millennium BCE, bronze has been the preferred medium for some of the most prestigious and sacred works of art. But only through interdisciplinary research can the fabrication of these extraordinary objects be properly investigated, interpreted, and documented. This innovative publication bridges the expertise of myriad art-technological specialists to create a new framework for advancing the understanding of bronze sculpture.
Essential reading for curators, conservators, scientists, archaeologists, sculptors, metallurgists, founders, dealers, collectors, and anyone interested in the life cycle of a bronze, this volume explains how to identify the evidence of process steps, metals used, casting defects, and surface work and alterations before moving on to address analytical techniques ranging from visual exams to imaging, material analyses, and dating. The guidelines are accompanied by detailed illustrations, including videos, charts, and animations; a robust vocabulary, ensuring precision across English, German, French, Italian, and Chinese; a diverse selection of case studies; and a comprehensive bibliography.
Reflecting Getty's commitment to open content, the free online edition of this publication will be available at and includes videos and zoomable illustrations. Also available are free PDF and EPUB downloads of the book. For readers who wish to have a bound reference copy, this paperback edition will be available for sale.

David Bourgarit is an archaeometallurgist at the Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France. Jane Bassett is senior conservator of decorative arts and sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Francesca Bewer is a research curator at the Harvard Art Museums. Arlen Heginbotham is conservator of decorative arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Andrew Lacey is an artist, archaeometallurgist, and independent scholar. Peta Motture is senior curator of sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

518 pages 
8 1/2 x 11 inches
468 color illustrations, 80 charts and diagrams, 15 tables
ISBN 978-1-60606-690-4

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum