Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science

NICAS Colloquium

12July2018 12:00 - 13:00


The next edition of the NICAS Colloquium takes place on Thursday, 12 July 2018, from 12:00 to 13:00 hrs in conference room B of the Atelier Building (Hobbemastraat 22, Amsterdam). Please note that this is the final NICAS Colloquium before a short Summer hiatus. The NICAS Colloquium will be back in September with regular bi-weekly meetings.


The chair of this colloquium will be Tatja Scholte (RCE).


The following presentations are scheduled for this edition of the NICAS Colloquium:

Maartje Stols-Witlox

Down to the Ground. A new NWO project investigating the introduction, spread and impact of coloured grounds on painting in the Netherlands, 1550-1650

The 5-year project Down to the Ground, a Historical, Visual and Scientific analysis of Coloured Grounds in Netherlandish paintings, 1550-1650 recently received funding from NWO (Free Competition Humanities). It unites (technical) art historians and conservators from UvA with scientists from TU Delft, is supported by the RKD and by partners from major national and international museums. Ground colours have a profound effect on painting methods and the visual characteristics of finished pictures; an effect that increases as paintings age. Coloured grounds originate in late 15th-century Italy and spread north around 1550. They gave rise to a new way of painting, with an emphasis on tonality and chiaroscuro. Currently we have no overview of the transfer mechanisms that influenced their successful spread to the Netherlands, the impact of coloured ground on painting technique and visual effects, and the influence of advances in Early Modern optics and colour theory on their development. Down to the Ground investigates these aspects through three interwoven subprojects.

Maartje Stols-Witlox is project leader of Down to the Ground  and assistant professor paintings conservation at the University of Amsterdam. She specializes in historical recipe research & reconstruction. Her PhD research on historical recipes for ground layers for oil paintings was published with Archetype in 2017 as A Perfect Ground.

Mariël Polman & Luc Megens

The colours of Peter Struycken’s “Wetmatige Beweging” in Leiden

In 1966 Peter Struycken made “Wetmatige beweging” for the new building of the former MTS (technical school) in Leiden. This artwork was made of steel U-profiles fixed to  three walls. The profiles were painted in a series of colours, but at some moment in time the whole wall and profiles have been painted white and on one wall, the profiles were removed. When the school was going to be demolished, The Heemschut foundation  convinced the Municipality of Leiden and the RCE to preserve Struycken’s artwork and to find a new place to reinstall it. Peter Struycken considered his work to be lost, and needed to be persuaded to safe it for the future. Thus, as part of the research programme Modern and Contemporary Heritage of the RCE Mariël Polman performed in situ colour research together with intern Paul Kisner. Luc Megens investigated the composition of the paints.

Luc Megens trained in classical archeology and chemistry and is currently working as a heritage scientist specializing in painted surfaces and inorganic materials. Mariël Polman, trained in architecture, house painting and architectural paint research, is currently working as a specialist on architectural paint research and  in the programme Modern and Contemporary Heritage/ De Stijl and the Reconstruction.

NICAS Colloquium

More information about the NICAS Colloquium can be found here.



Thursday, 12 July 2018


12:00 – 13:00 hrs


Conference Room B, Atelier Building
Hobbemastraat 22, Amsterdam

Published by  NICAS