The wonders of weaving

As Rijksmuseum Professor of Studio Practice and Technical Art History at the University of Amsterdam, I am working with a fantastic group of students from the MA programme in Technical Art History.  Although teaching continues during lock down, we were very lucky to just finish the practical part of our module Modern and Contemporary Art…

Regenerating Rembrandt’s Night Watch: a restoration method from the past

Max von Pettenkofer (1818–1901) a German chemist and hygienist invented the regeneration technique, a method to improve the saturation of blanched varnish layers on old master paintings. In 1870 he published a small book on this method: Über Ölfarbe und Conservirung der Gemälde-Gallerien durch das Regenerations-Verfahren. Esther van Duijn, a painting conservator and art historian…

Nigritella Nigra no. 1 ‘chequered like Arlecchino’s costume’

Nigritella Nigra, a chest of drawers designed by the Italian architect, writer, designer and painter Alessandro Mendini (1931), came to the Rijksmuseum as a gift from the heir of Frans Haks, the well- known director of the Groninger Museum, who opened the new museum building designed by Mendini in 1994. Alessandro Mendini, Nigritella Nigra no….

Real rubies and a goldsmith’s skills…

  Suzanne van Leeuwen, curator and conservator of jewellery at the Rijksmuseum, shows the use of UV and the HIROX 3D digital microscope to examine the gems, in a 17th-century bow brooch in the Rijksmuseum collection, as well as the way the seventeenth-century goldsmith set them in the brooch. In a previous blog on the brooch she explained…

Looking beyond what the eye can see: Advanced imaging of Marten and Oopjen

  Looking beyond what the eye can see.. Imaging techniques are increasingly important to document paintings in great detail prior to any conservation treatments, or as part of technical art history research. Looking, so to speak, through the paint layers, as well as in close up and high resolution, reveals much about the condition of…

Matthijs Maris (1839-1917): experiments and mysteries

Matthijs Maris  (1839-1917): experiments and mysteries In the winter of 2017 the Rijksmuseum organises the exhibition Matthijs Maris, an initiative from Richard Bionda writer of the monograph on Maris which will accompany the exhibition. It is the first time the Dutch painter Matthijs Maris (1839-1917) is honored with an overview exhibition. Maris, whose career took off in…