Shell scientists swap fuels for paint to help National Gallery experts preserve historic works of art
Oct 14, 2014
Scientific tools and techniques used by the oil and gas industry to analyse the molecules in fuels are being used to establish the best conditions for preserving priceless works of art.
A collaboration between scientists at Shell and experts from the National Gallery in London will reveal why a red pigment fades over time more quickly than other colours. The pigment, called ‘Brazilwood Lake’ was commonly used in seventeenth century paintings, such as ‘Portrait of Frederik Rihel’, by celebrated Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn.
Specialist equipment housed at the Shell Technology Centre in Amsterdam is central to this project. A Liquid Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer separates and partially characterises a component in the degraded Brazilwood Lake material. Secondly, a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer (NMR) is used to help the team investigate the molecular structure of the degradation component.
Wim Genuit, Senior Scientist, Shell Technology Centre in Amsterdam and lead scientist on the project, said: “I never imagined that my scientific knowledge would be put to use in this way, but uncovering the secrets hidden within these magnificent canvases is an exciting challenge. I hope we can find out how to preserve them for future generations to enjoy.”
Betsy Wieseman, Curator of the exhibition at the National Gallery, commented: “There’s so much we can never know about art created hundreds of years ago but this collaboration between the National Gallery and Shell has helped us open a window on the past and gain a fresh insight to Rembrandt’s studio.”
Erik Bonino, Chairman, Shell UK, said: “Across our business we often see unlikely collaborations deliver creative thinking and innovation. A fresh perspective, or a different approach, can make all the difference when it comes to solving problems. I’m excited that we’ve found a novel way to use the technology and the scientists we have in Amsterdam. I hope it will deliver an important breakthrough.”
The collaboration underpins Shell’s sponsorship of Rembrandt: The Late Works exhibition, which runs at the National Gallery from October 15, 2014 to January 18, 2015.
Publicity images from the exhibition can be obtained from http://press.ng-london.org.uk .
Shell has a legacy of partnerships with artists. Find out about The Shell Art Collection .
Shell International Media Relations +44 (0) 20 7934 5550
Notes to Editors:
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague and is listed on the London, Amsterdam, and New York stock exchanges. Shell companies have operations in more than 70 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects. For further information, visit www.shell.com
The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. In this announcement "Shell", "Shell Group" and "Royal Dutch Shell" are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words "we", "us" and "our" are also used to refer to subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them.
These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies. "Subsidiaries", "Shell subsidiaries" and "Shell companies" as used in this announcement refer to companies in which Shell either directly or indirectly has control, by having either a majority of the voting rights or the right to exercise a controlling influence. The companies in which Shell has significant influence but not control are referred to as "associated companies" or "associates" and companies in which Shell has joint control are referred to as "jointly controlled entities".
In this announcement, associates and jointly controlled entities are also referred to as "equity-accounted investments". The term "Shell interest" is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect ownership interest held by Shell in a venture, partnership or company, after exclusion of all third-party interest.
This announcement contains forward looking statements concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Shell and the Shell Group. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management's current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements.
Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Shell and the Shell Group to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as "anticipate", "believe", "could", "estimate", "expect", "goals", "intend", "may", "objectives", "outlook", "plan", "probably", "project", "risks", "seek", "should", "target", "will" and similar terms and phrases.
There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Shell and the Shell Group and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward looking statements included in this announcement, including (without limitation):
(a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell's products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions;
(j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including regulatory measures addressing climate change; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions. All forward looking statements contained in this announcement are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section.
Readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Additional factors that may affect future results are contained in Shell's 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2013 (available at www.shell.com/investor and www.sec.gov ). These factors also should be considered by the reader. Each forward looking statement speaks only as of the date of this announcement.
Neither Shell nor any of its subsidiaries nor the Shell Group undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward looking statements contained in this announcement.
More in media
You may also like
Our Annual Report, Sustainability Report, Tax Contribution Report and other annual publications are available online and as PDF download. A printed copy of our Annual Report can be ordered free of charge.