We are pleased to announce a new, online edition of the NICAS colloquium on Thursday 29 February 2024 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 presenters are Martin Jürgens (Rijksmuseum) and Nienke Woltman (Rijksmuseum)
The chair is Ana Albano Serrano (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
► Martin Jürgens – Redefining the origins of photomechanical printing – Multiplying daguerreotypes in Europe from 1839 to 1860
This talk will summarise my ongoing PhD research by challenging a fundamental ‘given’ in photographic history: the common concept of the daguerreotype’s uniqueness. This understanding derives from the photographic plates being individually prepared and exposed in the camera, and no multiplication being possible. However, at least 40 practitioners experimented with transforming daguerreotypes into printing plates for creating multiple images in ink on paper: they were etched, engraved, electroplated, electrotyped, or the image was transferred in gelatine or cast in plaster. These techniques might be considered the earliest photomechanical printing processes and transformed daguerreotypes and their prints the incunabula of photographic images produced in ink on paper. My technical photo history research fills the gaps in our knowledge of this early era by exploring how photography, chemistry, galvanic techniques and 19th-century copperplate printing connect. Daguerreotypes and traditional printing techniques correlate in that they all form images using variations in surface topography alone. In this lecture, two case studies illustrate how I am examining both the methodology with which practitioners were working as well as the surface-related functions of printing from etched daguerreotype plates. The lecture closes with a description of my process reconstruction experiments.
Martin Jürgens is conservator of photographs at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Before coming to the Netherlands, he worked as a conservator in private practice in Hamburg. His education includes a German diploma in photography and design, an M.S. from Rochester Institute of Technology and an M.A. in Conservation from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Following a scholarship at the Getty Museum, the Getty Conservation Institute published his book The Digital Print. Identification and Preservation in 2009. He is currently a part-time PhD student at the Photographic History Research Centre of the De Montfort University in Leicester, UK.
► Nienke Woltman – Use of a Treatment Option Diagram for ethical considerations and risk assessment related to the treatment of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch
In July 2019 the Rijksmuseum launched Operation Night Watch, the largest and most wide-ranging research and conservation project in the history of Rembrandt’s 1642 masterpiece. The overarching goal of the project is the long-term preservation of the painting. In this presentation the ethical considerations and risk assessment during a the decision-making process regarding the treatment of the pictorial layers of The Night Watch are discussed, which took place in the autumn of 2022. During team discussions a Treatment Option Diagram was developed to organise and structure the ideas and opinions of the large group of paintings conservators and other specialists involved. The Treatment Option Diagram describes three different treatment options for The Night Watch, listing pros and cons under each option. Using the Treatment Option Diagram, the conservators were able to draft an informed and well-balanced advice on further treatment of The Night Watch. This lecture was previously presented at the symposium ‘Bridging the gap: synergies between art history and conservation’, at the National Museum of Norway, Oslo, on 23 November 2023.
Nienke Woltman graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 2012 with a MA and Professional Doctorate in conservation and restoration of paintings. She has been working as Paintings Conservator at the Rijksmuseum since 2013, where she performs conservation treatments and scientific research on various paintings from the 15th-19th century. She is currently part of Operation Night Watch.