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Technical Documentation

Infrared reflectography, x-ray examination and paint sample analysis: the Technical Documentation collection contains the results of various forms of technical examinations of paintings. The RKD collects, manages and indexes documentation on material technical examinations and the restoration/conservation of art objects. This documentation is available in both digital and analogue form to researchers and any other interested parties. Technical documentation can offer insight into the creative process, the condition and history of art works and is therefore an important contributing factor in the study of art history. The RKD also indexes technical documentation from other parties, such as for use in The Rembrandt Database.

Paintings are examined at the request of museums, other institutes or private parties, with the aid of special machinery for infrared reflectography (IRR). They are then added to the collection. See Research with infrared reflectography.

[afb: technical documentation]
Meester van het Johannes Altaar, De geboorte van Johannes de Doper (Master of the Altarpiece of John the Baptist, The birth of John the Baptist), approx. 1520, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Detailed normal illumination, infrared reflectogram montage en x-ray image. Space was initially left for the dog during the carving of the signature; this was left out in the final version [© Museum Boijmans van Beuningen/ NWO/ RKD]

Technical Documentation managed by the RKD

  • Archives Prof. J.R.J. van Asperen de Boer, Ph.D. and Prof. Molly Faries, Ph.D. 
    (Digitalised) photographic negatives with IRR images and manual montages of around 2000 paintings (primarily North and South Dutch, German and Italian art) from national and international collections, supplemented with reports, correspondence and paint sample analyses.
  • RKD IRR-onderzoek 
    Digital IRR images of around 700 paintings (primarily North and South Dutch art) from national and international collections.
  • Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) Archive
    Notes, correspondence, transcriptions of auction catalogues, (copies) of photographs, x-ray images and other image documentation of more than 600 paintings by and/or (formerly) attributed to Rembrandt, supplemented with documentation on paint sample analyses from 164 paintings and rapports concerning dendrochronological examination of the panel paintings.
  • Oranjezaal (Orange Hall) Project Archive
    Notes, restoration reports, photographs from before, during and after restoration and documentation regarding the material history of the seventeenth-century paintings which hang in the Orange Hall in the Royal Palace Huis ten Bosch. The archive was put together between 1998 and 2001.
  • Restorer archives
    Correspondence and greatly varying documentation regarding restorations of art works (mostly paintings) from a few Dutch restorers and restoration studios, such as C.F.L. de Wild (1870-1922), A.M. de Wild, Ph.D. (1899-1969), P.F.J.M. Hermesdorf (1923-1991) and the Kollektief Restoratieatelier Amsterdam Foundation – SKRA (which operated between 1983-2006). See also: Archives
  • Various museum documentation
    Contains various documentation, including x-ray images of paintings from the Jeroen Bosch exhibition in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 1967, photo prints of x-ray images from paintings from the Central Museum Utrecht collection and copies of IRR images of paintings from collections of the National Gallery London and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.
  • Digital images Mondrian
    Digital images made with infrared radiation, x-ray and ultraviolet light of the 17 works produced by Piet Mondrian between 1935 and 1940 in Europe and then New York. These were assembled for the exhibition and publication ´Mondrian: The Transatlantic Paintings´ by Harvard University Art Museums (HUAM) in 2001. The RKD is the only institute outside the US where a digital copy of the exhibition material can be consulted.

Consultation
The RKD’s technical documentation can only be consulted by appointment and under the supervision of a staff member. This is due to the fragile nature of the material and that some specialist knowledge is necessary for a correct interpretation. Certain sections of the collection are currently being (further) indexed and are therefore not yet fully available. If you are unable to visit the RKD, or would like information on whether certain documentation is available, then contact the department staff (see details below).

Placing orders for photographs
The RKD can deliver (digital) photographs of technical documentation for study purposes and/or publication. Certain conditions apply. See Ordering photographs.

Information
Margreet Wolters, Ph.D.
Michiel Franken, M.A.
+31 70 3339777
info@rkd.nl

Information