Art History and Conservation

Timeless works of art are created by human hands. These art works must be studied, preserved and restored so they may be passed on to later generations. The Department of Art History and Conservation is made up of four Divisions: the Art History division, which imparts knowledge about artistic culture overall and teaches students how to properly understand art works and handle cultural properties and local artifacts; the respective divisions of Painting and Sculpture Restoration that trains students in the philosophy and methods of appropriate restoration based on the careful observation of the state of the art work; and the Conservation Science division in which students study the conservation of cultural properties using the most scientific approaches available. One of the most fascinating features of TUAD is the fact that students directly engage in the work of conserving and restoring tangible cultural properties under the supervision of faculty.  In addition to fully understanding the depths of art, by directly handling and analyzing art works, students are able to convey the visions of the artists working in the period. In addition, top specialists with worldwide experience give detailed and considered guidance. As a result, classrooms have the feel of small, carefully focused studios.

Painting Restoration

This field focuses on training students in the knowledge and techniques used in the conservation and restoration of paintings. Because each individual painting is comprised of a combination of various materials, students learn about the characteristics of each paintings construct and materials in order to lessen any damage or wear and tear of the work. Classes focus on knowledge and techniques needed, such as handling, survey, observation and recording methods, the evaluation of storage needs, and conservation and restoration work. These studies will give students a deeper understanding of art works from a variety of perspectives.

Sculpture Restoration

Buddhist sculpture and other forms of traditional cultural properties were created technically along essentially established lines. Modern and contemporary works, on the other hand, frequently involve a diverse array of materials, methods and constructs. While respecting traditional restoration methods, students in the department will learn the use of new materials and equipment from a modern historical and physical sciences approach, and learn restoration processes through experimentation and evaluation. Additionally, through museum internships, students will gain hands-on experience of actual art works and cultural properties, having an opportunity to learn more about the current state of such objects in their actual settings.

Conservation Science

This field trains students in the evaluation and analysis of art works and cultural properties using the latest scientific technologies in order to provide this information to the Conservation and Restoration divisions. Structural surveys of the interiors of works using radiographic and infrared light and chemical analyses of the materials used in a work are all essential elements in contemporary conservation and restoration. In addition to the study of the work itself, various aspects of a work’s environment must be surveyed in order to clarify the causes of decay and damage. “Preventative conservation” with its goal of preventing damage caused by natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes is another important aspect of this field.

Art History

Art works conceal within themselves a myriad of information, including history, climate and the thoughts of their creators. Art History is the field in which an art work’s true form is sought out and correctly interpreted in order to “understand” the art work. First and second year students will study art works located in Tohoku regional museums, temples and shrines to build their knowledge base. From the third year onward students conduct specialized research in the two fields of Japanese art history and Western art history. Field study trips to Italy, the United States and other destinations are conducted each year, providing students with an important opportunity to come into direct contact with art works and to be inspired by them, while also allowing students to work on their research in small groups directly with teaching faculty.