Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science

In-situ aging and conservation studies on metal-containing works of art

Aging processes affect the appearance of metal-containing works of art. The effects of procedures used to counteract the effects of aging have not been extensively studied, even though these might actually harm the objects. X-ray based techniques are ideally suited for this, but availability of facilities can be a problem. The research team of Moniek Tromp is currently developing a lab-based instrument (within a VIDI project funded by NWO) that will allow the local structural and electronic characterization of compounds and metals on samples and objects, making it a more accessible research method to the field. This seed-money project aims to start in situ experiments to study the effects of conservation treatments and environmental conditions on the chemistry of the metal components of metal-containing works of art. A new cell will be developed for this purpose. Studying cleaning, aging and environmental processes in situ will provide valuable information on the original materials used and the the original, intended, appearance of the object. Understanding the detailed chemistry allows optimization of existing cleaning and conservation methods and/or development of new methods, with minimum impact on the objects.

Tromp - Rijksmuseum

Silver candelabrum with a partly patinated stem (detail). Pijzel, inv. nr. BK02008-88-A, 1842, The Hague. Copyright: Rijksmuseum

Project acronym


Principal investigator

  • Prof. dr. M. Tromp (University of Amsterdam)

Co-Principal investigators

  • J. van Bennekom MSc (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)
  • Dr. K. Keune (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam)
  • Dr. A. van Loon (University of Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology)

Research team

  • Prof. dr. K.J. van den Berg (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, University of Amsterdam)
  • E.K. van Bork (Rijksmuseum, University of Amsterdam)
  • S. Creange MSc (Rijksmuseum)
  • T. Davidowitz MA (Rijksmuseum, University of Amsterdam)
  • M. J├╝rgens MAC MSc (Rijksmuseum)
  • Drs. P. Noble (Rijksmuseum)

Participating institutions

  • Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
  • Rijksmuseum
  • University of Amsterdam

Want to know more?

Please click here for project updates and background information.

Published by  NICAS

6 April 2017