The Economist takes a look at the scientific tools available to museums and through forensic firms like Cranfield Forensic Institute (CFI). One of the main questions is why the art market is so resistant to employing technology to provide the kind of information that it often believes can only come from recondite connoiseurship:
Importantly, the availability of technology is limited. The number of experts is small; the cost of equipment and staff to analyse output is high. Some big museums can afford high-tech laboratories of their own to analyse their collections. Private owners, dealers and auction houses must employ the few laboratories like CFI that do commercial work. Fees depend on the time involved. This means that except when sentiment outweighs prudence, customers are more likely to bring CFI a piece valued at £300,000 than one worth £3,000, even if the time needed is as little as a day. The use of artificial intelligence will no doubt provide more insight in future. Indeed, Robert Erdmann, chief scientist at the Rijksmuseum has started work on “21st Century Connoisseurship”, a Machine Learning project that seeks to bring together existing technologies in one “supertool”.
Is art-connoisseur yet another job threatened by technology? (The Economist)