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  3. Technical Art History and Fraud

Technical Art History and Fraud (UNIB20004)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5Not available in 2017

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Year of offerNot available in 2017
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeUNIB20004
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Art fraud is a serious problem for Australia's art market; it involves organized crime, damage to artists' reputations and the insertion of false documents into the historical record. This subject introduces the cross-disciplinary research methodologies involved in investigating works of art within a legal context. Leading researchers in diverse fields including physics, chemistry and cultural materials conservation present key theories and methods. Important elements from different disciplines explored include scientific concepts of verifiability and falsifiability; designing analytical pathways; and selecting appropriate scientific instrumentation, the history of technological developments in pigment and binder manufacture; the varying legal standards around Australia and internationally; and the importance of provenance and documentary evidence. This is the only undergraduate subject led by the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the subject students should:

  • understand the philosophical, economic and social impacts of art fraud on the individuals and communities producing art and on the art market;
  • understand and be able to use agreed industry definitions of original artwork from both legal and art historical perspectives;
  • have an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of application of scientific analytical procedures to the authentication process and understand the process of formulating and testing a hypothesis scientifically.

Last updated: 15 July 2017