Art analysis

Scientific analyses have yielded some startling insights into historic works of art, bringing new interpretations and sometimes entirely different viewpoints. See what scientists have uncovered about these different pieces of art for yourself.

Practical resources


Analysis of cave paintings

In this practical, student gain an understanding of how cave painters may have used the natural rock formation to paint the animals and scenes onto them and how later painters have continued with this tradition.


Making concrete

In this experiment, students determine how different sized materials with binder increase the stability and strength of mortar and concrete. Also, students can test how altering the proportions of cement, water and different aggregates affects concrete’s properties.


Herschel infrared experiment

In this experiment, students measure the temperature thermometers reach as they are placed throughout (and beyond) the spectrum of visible light. 


Measure the speed of light

In this experiment, students report their findings when bread, covered in butter, is placed in a microwave without the turning plate. They also use their data to calculate the speed of light.

Two black wires being soldered together using a soldering iron

Making solder as an alloy of tin and lead

In association with

Try this practical to make solder by heating together the metals tin and lead before investigating the alloy’s properties. Includes kit list and safety instructions.

All resources

  • Herculaneum

    Conservation in Herculaneum

    Herculeaum is a special case of art in an archaeological setting. So how is it conserved?

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    Prehistoric pigments

    What pigments were used for cave painting and where did they come from?

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    Roman commerce in pigments

    Did the Romans use the same materials as the Greeks in their painting? And where did the pigments come from?

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    Ancient Roman art: an imitation of Greek art?

    A traditionally accepted view of ancient Roman art is they borrowed from, and copied, Greek precedents. The picture, however, is more complex and recent archaeological research indicates Roman art is highly creative.

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    Were Ancient Greek statues white or coloured?

    Renaissance artists studied the sculptures and monuments of Greece and Rome and emulated them in their own work, ie they imitated the art. This perspective of art has echoed down the centuries to influence the appearance of Western art and architecture today.

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    Part of the art conservation process is the examination and investigation of the artefact to determine its structure, make-up or stability. This resource investigates the two main types of radiography used: x-ray and gamma.

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    Restoration of Minoan paintings: Imitation or reproduction?

    Minoan art tells of a people who were keen observers of their world, in touch with the environment and enjoying the world they lived in.

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    Greek art theory influences future art

    Here we look at how the influences on Ancient Greek art, including the importance, and what is meant by, the Goldern Ratio.

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    Conservation of Egyptian art

    The ethical questions of whether ancient works of art should be be conservered or restored are investigated with this resource.

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    Egyptian myths

    The Egyptians developed a world view in which events and conditions were attributed to the actions of multiple, related gods and goddesses. Here are some of those stories.

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    Principles of Egyptian art

    Understanding Egyptian art lies in appreciating what it was created for. Ancient Egyptian art must be viewed from the standpoint of the ancient Egyptians not from our viewpoint. Here we explore the basis of Egyptian art.

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    Egyptian art

    To understand and appreciate Egyptian art one must look at the beginnings of art in Egypt and how it developed, for in that development lay the roots of many ideas and techniques. This resources explores this development.

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    Defining the age of a rock or cave painting

    Discover how it is possible to date rock and cave paintings, using science.

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    Style in cave paintings

    How does the style of cave art change around the world?