Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science

Drawing out Rembrandt

A model for reconstructing the past, analyzing the present and predicting the future condition of Rembrandt’s ink drawings

Rembrandt’s ink drawings on paper constitute a core part of the oeuvre of this continuously experimenting artist. Until recently the material characteristics of drawings could not be studied in depth as a result of the limited suitability of available analytical techniques. Due to recent technical advances new opportunities arise. For the first time, Rembrandts drawings from some of the world’s most important collections are the focus of an integrated trans-disciplinary research. This project aims to develop novel ways of looking at drawing(s) as a process. Answering relevant scientific questions will lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation, as well as a better informed decision making for such works of art on paper. To explore the making and aging of the drawings, in this research state-of-the-art techniques such as hyper spectral imaging, micro-sampling chemical characterization, physical modeling and data visualization are merged with historic research and experimental art technology. All types of data acquisition in this project, ranging from analytical measurements to historic research, will be targeted to feed into an integral material-biography model of Rembrandt's ink drawings. Visual digital reconstruction of their genesis, their past, and prognosis of their future will help museums to keep these precious but highly sensitive artworks optimally accessible to future generations and will shed light on their hidden stories.

Hinterding - RCE/Rijksmuseum

Principial investigator

  • Erik Hinterding (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

Principal researchers

  • Idelette van Leeuwen (Rijksmuseum)
  • Frank Ligterink (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands)
  • Birgit Reissland (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands)

Research team

  • Rob Erdmann (supervisor)
  • Roger Groves
  • Jeroen Stumpel (supervisor)

Participating institutions

  • Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
  • University of Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
  • Delft University of Technology
  • University of Utrecht
  • British Museum
  • Centre for Art Technologial Studies and Conservation
  • Statens Museum for Kunst
  • Teylers Museum
  • Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

Want to know more?

Please click here for project updates and background information.

Published by  NICAS

14 November 2017