Revisualizing late Rembrandt: Developing and Applying New Imaging Techniques


Old Master paintings pose many problems for conservators due to their complex history, multi-layer build-up and heterogeneous materials. Paintings may be overpainted, altered in some way or covered in thick, discolored layers of varnish. This applies to many artworks, but is dramatically exemplified by the oeuvre of late Rembrandt. Color changes, darkening of paint layers, surface whitening as well as later overpainting have severely distorted our view on Rembrandt paintings, particularly the late works from the 1650s and 1660s. In this project we will develop and apply new, non-destructive imaging techniques, including X-ray fluorescence imaging, X-ray diffraction imaging and infrared reflectance imaging spectroscopy. When combined, these techniques will a), identify a wide range of painting materials (inorganic pigments, colorants, binding media and degradation compounds) and b), plot their distribution over the painting surface and its substructure. These will become important diagnostic tools for art historians and conservators to help distinguish between the effects of ageing, past restoration and deliberate painterly effects. Analysis of late Rembrandt paintings will shed light on their original appearance, allowing for more accurate assessment of Rembrandt's enigmatic late painting style providing improved preservation strategies and guidelines for conservation treatments that takes this new information into account. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with conservators, curators and conservation scientists from leading international museums, universities, science institutes and industry.


Wetenschappelijk artikel





Prof. dr. J. Dik

Verbonden aan

Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit Technische Natuurwetenschappen, Technische Materiaalwetenschappen


T.W.J. Callewaert MSc, Dr. V. Gonzalez, Dr. A. van Loon, Dr. A. van Loon


01/05/2013 tot 30/06/2018