Two 17th century Dutch paintings - art technological studies

Art technological studies of two newly acquired paintings by Lievens and unknown Dutch artist in the Nationalmuseum's collections

A cooperation agreement has been signed for the implementation of this interdisciplinary research project between the Nationalmuseum and CATS - Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation. The CATS center in Copenhagen is collaboration between Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK); The National Museum of Denmark, and The School of Conservation at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, which means that they have the resources to perform advanced materials technology research.

The project aims, through art technological research to generate new knowledge about two Dutch seventeenth century paintings, Apostle Paul by Jan Lievens, NM 7087 and A young student at his desk by an unknown pupil of Rembrandt, NM 7100 acquired by Nationalmuseum in 2012. The outcome of this research will lead to increased knowledge of the Dutch artist Jan Lievens (1607-1674) painting technique in his early works. Also it will try to ascertain the artist in the circle of Rembrandt who executed the work, A young student at his desk.

Image: Young student at his desk, Unknown artist
Unknown artist, pupil of Rembrandt, Young student at his desk. Oil on canvas. NM 7100.

To facilitate answers regarding these 400 year old works of art the technical studies of paintings will be performed by an IR survey with an Osiris camera and XRF X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, including sampling, and analysis of pigment and binder. Results of the analyses will also be used as a basis for finding the most suitable conservation methods.

Image: Apostle Paul by Jan Lievens

Jan Lievens 1607-1674, Apostle Paul. Oil on canvas. NM 7087.

The project is expected to be completed in 2017 when the Nationalmuseum reopens after extensive renovation. Results of the project will be published in a number of articles. Technical studies have already been partially addressed as the basis of Dr. Carina Fryklund’s, curator at the Nationalmuseum in connection with acquisitions, and in consultation with painting conservator Lena Dahlén, published articles in The Burlington Magazine, 2013, issue 1319, and the Art Bulletin of Nationalmuseum Stockholm, Vol. 19, 2012.

The project leaders are: paintings conservator Lena Dahlén, Nationalmuseum, and Dr. Anna Vila, CATS. Participating from the Nationalmuseum are: Dr. Carina Fryklund, curator of collections, Cecilia Heisser, photographer, and Kriste Sibul, director of the Preservations department. Participants from CATS/Statens Museum for Kunst: Troels Filtenborg, senior scientist and chemist, Ricardo Buccarella, infrared photography and image-developer, and Prof. Dr. Jørgen Wadum, director of CATS.

The project is funded by the Alfhild Lundin Foundation. The paintings were purchased in 2012 with funds from the Wiros Fund.


Art Library and Museum Archives,
Holmamiralens väg 2,
Skeppsholmen, Stockholm 

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