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CHEMISTRY IN THE ART

C. Rius-Alonso, Y. González-Quezada

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (MEXICO)
Chemistry is involved in many fields. One of it is art. A very important aspect of our teaching is to find the relationship between art and chemistry.

At the Faculty of Chemistry, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, we have implemented a course to teach the influence of chemical event in the art work. The aim of the course it to teach students how they can understand the chemical changes within the art work thought time.

Many of the changes are very slow chemical reactions thought the time in a solid-state phase. Other changes are due to photochemical changes, by the interactions in the light and the pigments. The lacquers also suffer a chemical change and several times the change reflected in color and transparency transformation making the painting very dark and dull. All this chemical transformation is simulated using Molecular Modeling Programs (Spartan). We have found that the use of this type of programs helps students to visualize the chemical changes in a very graphical view. In that way, they can remember all the transformation involved through a long period of time.

The skill developed during the course with the students to understand the chemical process occurring during the aging of the painting help them to learn how this can be reversed or delayed using a strong scientific background.