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The Gemäldegalerie exhibits, studies and conserves around 3,600 old master paintings on wood, canvas, copper and stone as well as approximately 3,000 historical picture frames. One wood and frame conservator and five paintings conservators work with Babette Hartwieg as head of paintings conservation. They are responsible for the preservation, treatment and technological study of this famous collection.
Preventive conservation forms the basis of their work. It includes: monitoring the collection through the regular inspection of the condition of the artworks, monitoring the environment they are kept in with regard to relative humidity, light and air-borne pollutants, risk analysis with respect to loans and transportation and further development of protective measures. Because the Gemäldegalerie participates actively in many international exhibition projects, the conservators are responsible for the care of outgoing and incoming loans of both the gallery's own works as well as of those given to the museum on loan from other institutions. Conservation treatments are carried out according to current scientific standards. The measurements are based on technological investigations and buttressed by scientific analyses. The studio rooms offer sufficient space and, on account of their equipment, excellent conditions for the examination, analysis and conservation of even large-scale works of art.
The conservators conduct research about the paintings, their technology and material composition, the deterioration and the restoration history. This research is carried out in close co-operation with the curators. It is supported by the specialized photographer of the Gemäldegalerie who provides large format x-ray films, infrared photographs and other photographic documentation carried out with modern technology. All of the analytical and other investigatory findings as well as the executed treatments are documented and archived in the conservation studio. In co-operation with the Hahn-Meitner-Institut, conservators and photographer are carrying out neutron activation radiography on selected paintings as part of a long-term research project. This method has resulted in important findings illuminating artists' working processes (www.hmi.de).
The conservators offer conservation internships and the supervision of diploma or master's theses.