We are pleased to announce a new, online edition of the NICAS colloquium on Thursday 13 April 2023 from 12.00 to 13.00 hrs. The colloquium will take place online through Microsoft Teams. Throughout the year, NICAS organises a bi-weekly Colloquium consisting of two short research lectures. It provides researchers with the opportunity to present ideas for, updates on or results of their activities. The NICAS Colloquium allows people to stay informed on a regular basis about the latest developments and results of research and to exchange information and expertise. the chair of this colloquium is Maria Laura Petruzzellis.
► Julia Alting – Traces of the past or presence in a curatorial “now”: disrupting chronology at the museum
The question of linear chronology and historical time is taken up more widely today by art historians. This paper investigates the disruption of chronology in the exhibition A-historische klanken (1988) curated by Harald Szeemann at Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. I trace the history of a Sri Lankan ivory portable cabinet (c. 1680-1710) in the exhibition. It was brought to the Netherlands by the VOC, purchased by the museum in 1945 and restored for a period of 11 years (1959-1970) in which the entire wooden inner structure of the cabinet had to be replaced. This turbulent ‘life’ is obscured by the cabinet’s inclusion in A-historische klanken, which emphasizes the ‘timeless’ quality of art objects. The tension between the ahistorical temporality of the curation and the many time scales of the cabinet and its colonial history provoke further questions of how the historical time of art history could be negotiated.
Julia Alting is a PhD candidate at the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG). Previously she studied art history and cultural studies at Amsterdam University College and New York University, and completed an MA asian studies and a ResMA arts and culture at Leiden University and SOAS, University of London. Her research assesses nonlinear approaches to art historical time and she lectures on feminist and decolonial critiques of the discipline. She has been a recipient of the Amsterdam University Fund, Erasmus and Uhlenbeck Scholarships and Research Grants at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome.
► Susan Smelt, Rob Erdmann and Ingeborg Meijssen – Canvassing the making. Understanding plain woven canvases of old master paintings by handweaving and analysing reconstructions.
This NICAS small project will provide knowledge and insight into the structure of the plain woven canvas of old master paintings. This will be achieved by connecting the structure of the canvas to the making of the canvas. The structure of the plain woven canvas is analysed by using highly advanced computational analysis, newly developed at the Rijksmuseum. The structure of canvas is, among other things, influenced by the way it was manufactured. This will be examined by handweaving linen canvas and executing a set of experiments in an effort to reconstruct the structure of handwoven canvas of old master paintings. These experiments will subsequently be analysed in the same way as the plain woven canvas of old master paintings. A comparison of these two sets of analysis will provide unique knowledge and insight into both the composition and the making of plain woven canvas of old master paintings.
Susan Smelt works as a paintings conservator at the Rijksmuseum. She graduated in 2012 from the University of Amsterdam with an MA and Professional Doctorate in Conservation and Restoration of Paintings. During the two-year postinitial phase she worked at the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL) and the Mauritshuis in The Hague. She also holds BA and MA degrees in Art History from the University of Groningen. Since 2014 she worked at the Rijksmuseum on different projects among which are the Paint Sample Database, research and conservation of the portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit and the research and treatment of the Night Watch.
Ingeborg Meijssen is professional weaver and historical textile researcher since 2016 when she followed a weaving education in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. She weaves fashion and interior fabrics on two contemporary countermarch floor looms using undyed Dutch sheep wool. Having done many investigations in a previous profession, Ingeborg is intrigued by the making process and structure of materials. She researches historical sources and uses this knowledge to weave tests and reconstructions in a quest to come close to the making and history of materials such as 17th century canvas of old master paintings.
Robert Erdmann, Senior Scientist, Rijksmuseum, and Full Professor, University of Amsterdam