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X-rays

X-rays in the study of Van Gogh’s paintings.
X-rays 
What are you going to learn during this lesson?
During this lesson you will learn what x-rays are, what a conservator-restorer does, what layers you can find in a painting, and who Vincent van Gogh was. You will then learn how conservators use x-rays to examine a painting.
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Slide 1: Tekstslide
ScienceLower Secondary Education (GCSE)

In deze les zitten 11 slides, met interactieve quizzen, tekstslides en 1 video.

time-iconLesduur is: 45 min

Introductie

Masterminds & Masterpieces – An interactive lesson in which students discover how conservators use x-rays to study paintings by Vincent van Gogh. The lesson is suitable for independent study, or whole-class teaching.

Instructies

General learning objectives
  • Students learn what x-rays are
  • Students get to know Vincent van Gogh;
  • Students see how a conservator uses x-rays to examine paintings
A curious and inquiring mind is vital for the preservation and conservation of art, and for science and technology in general. This lesson, part of the Masterminds & Masterpieces series, uses the interdisciplinary benefits of inquiry-based learning (experimentation, testing, looking, comparing etc.). Masterminds & Masterpieces is a collaborative project of the Van Gogh Museum and ASML.

Link to curriculum
- This lessons ties in with the subjects physics and science.

Equipment
n.a.

Variation
- This lesson can be combined with the lessons on UV – Van Gogh’s enemy/friend, and with the lesson on infrared radiation.

Onderdelen in deze les

X-rays in the study of Van Gogh’s paintings.
X-rays 
What are you going to learn during this lesson?
During this lesson you will learn what x-rays are, what a conservator-restorer does, what layers you can find in a painting, and who Vincent van Gogh was. You will then learn how conservators use x-rays to examine a painting.

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

What’s happening here?
Conservator-restorer Oda is looking at x-rays of Vincent’s painting Horse Chestnut Tree in Blossom.
What does this person’s job involve?
This person is a conservator-restorer. She examines and takes care of old objects, and repairs any damage. Here, she is working on a painting by Vincent.
One of the jobs of a museum is to study its collection and keep it in good condition for the future. Conservators play an important role in this. 
Who was Vincent van Gogh?
Vincent van Gogh
- lived from 1853 to 1890;
- grew up in the Netherlands;
- lived in four countries (Netherlands, Britain, Belgium and France);
- decided to be an artist when he was 27
- made almost 900 paintings, over 1000 drawings and wrote hundreds of letters
- was not famous during his life
- is now a very famous painter

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

What are x-rays?
X-rays are electromagnetic radiation that are on the electromagnetic spectrum. You can’t see x-rays with the naked eye. X-rays allow you to see through some materials, like skin, but not through others, like bone.
X-rays are ionising radiation, which contains a lot of energy. It can be used to set chemical reactions going. If the substance being irradiated is living tissue, there is a chance that the DNA will be damaged. That is why people may only be exposed to x-rays for a fraction of a second.

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

So x-rays are used at the museum to examine Vincent’s paintings. Watch the video on the next slide to see how, then answer the questions. 

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Slide 5 - Video

How can an x-ray help a conservator-restorer examine a painting?
A
To see how the layers of paint are built up
B
To discover underpaintings
C
To reveal cracks and holes in the paint
D
To find out more about the composition of the paint

Slide 6 - Quizvraag

 Drag the images to the right categories
Easily penetrated by x-rays.
Not easily penetrated by x-rays.
Lead
Skin
Bone
Mercury
Canvas

Slide 7 - Sleepvraag

What do the spots with the circles round them tell us?

Slide 8 - Open vraag

What makes it difficult to read an x-ray of a painting?
A
The colours are completely different than in real life.
B
The nails stop you from seeing the painting properly.
C
You see all layers of the painting in one image.

Slide 9 - Quizvraag

Did you know..
.. that a storm not only creates visible light, but also x-rays and gamma radiation?
.. that x-rays are used in industry to check for mistakes in welds?
 .. that x-rays are also used to check luggage?

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

Now you’ve completed this lesson you know:
  • what X-ray is
  • who Vincent van Gogh was
  • how conservators used x-rays in their work
  • that paintings are built up of several layers
  • how you can discover underdrawings using x-rays

Slide 11 - Tekstslide