Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science

NICAS Colloquium

26Jan2017 12:00 - 13:00


We are very pleased to announce the next edition of the NICAS Colloquium on Thursday 26 January from 12.00 to 13.00 hrs. The colloquium will take place in conference room B of the Atelier Building (Hobbemastraat 22, Amsterdam).

The chair of this colloquium will be Nouchka de Keyser (Rijksmuseum), project associate for the paint sample database.

The presenters during the colloquium are:

  • Neha Verma - Collection catalogue Dutch Delftware- Technical studies of Dutch tin-glazed earthenware (Delftware) by means of X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectrometry

The Rijksmuseum is working on a new collection catalogue of Dutch Delftware, which is one of the most significant in the world. This gives the opportunity to research the large group of around 1600 museum objects. The main goal of this project is to increase the knowledge on the material-historical aspects and the production process of Dutch Delftware in the 17th and 18th century. In this presentation, a non-destructive and non-invasive XRF technique was explored to investigate if a characterization of Delftware based on chemical composition is possible or not. The results of XRF analysis have been implicated in supporting attributions to specific workshops or periods based on art-historical studies. Furthermore, micro-destructive techniques were also considered to validate handheld XRF for semi-quantitative analysis.

Neha Verma obtained a BSc in Chemistry from Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, India, and a Master’s degree in Material Chemistry from University of Eastern Finland (UEF). Currently, she is working as a Research Technician at Rijksmuseum and finishing her Ph.D. in Material Science and Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Together with art historians, she is involved in a “Collection catalogue- Dutch Delftware” project, where her role is to perform technical research on the Rijksmuseum Dutch Delftware collection using non-destructive and micro-destructive analytical techniques.

  • Maartje Stols-Witlox - Scientific Reasoning in Art (Acronym: SciRe). An introduction into the SciRe project, evaluating evidence in paintings research using a Bayesian approach.

Questions of provenance and attribution have long since motivated art historical research. Current authentication studies combine traditional humanities-based methods with scientific investigation using instrumental analysis. Establishing the relative weight of information delivered by different specialists is a growing challenge. The Bayesian framework for interpretation of evidence shows great promise in dealing with this issue. Introducing this mathematical system to calculate the probability of hypotheses based on various pieces of evidence will strengthen the scientific basis for (art) historical and scientific studies of art. Bayesian frameworks will sharpen research methodologies by pointing to weak areas and will help researchers focus on relevant issues.

Maartje Stols-Witlox  was educated as an art historian and paintings conservator. She is currently assistant professor of paintings conservation at the University of Amsterdam. She specialises in research on historical recipes for painting materials and for conservation, as well as their reconstruction. Within the Science4Arts PAinT project, she focused on the reconstruction of historical recipes for the cleaning of oil paintings, research for which she also received a grant from the UvA University Fund. She is Principal Investigator of the NICAS SciRe project. Her involvement in this project stem from her interest in improving research methodologies in the field of conservation.

More information about the NICAS Colloquium can be found here.

Published by  NICAS