Current projects


New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art

NACCA is a research and training programme, which aims at educating a new generation of professional curators, conservators, and academic researchers who are properly equipped to face the challenges complex contemporary artworks pose. The PhD programme is designed by experts working in museums, heritage organisations, and universities that have a profound experience in the field of contemporary art conservation and conservation research throughout Europe. The PhD Research on Artist Interviews and Artist Participation has been initiated by UvA’s Department Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage through the Specialization of Contemporary Art. The project is initiated and coordinated by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network NACCA is funded by the European Union H2020 Programme. For more info see the NACCA project website.


Cleaning Modern Oil Paintings

Within the context of safeguarding tangible heritage for current and future generations, 20th- and 21st-century oil paintings are presenting a range of challenging problems that are distinctly different from those noted in paintings from previous centuries. This project aims to make a significant impact on our understanding of the reasons behind the alarming problems by exploring several aspects of paint formulations. New cleaning systems will be tested for works of art in several internationally significant public collections.
More info see the NWO program text and the CMOP project website.

Automated Canvas Analysis

A new tool
Ella Hendriks, Louis van Tilborgh, Teio Meedendorp, C. Richard Johnson Jr., Don H. Johnson,
Robert G. Erdmann

canvasIn 2007, conservators and art historians at the Van Gogh Museum began to collaborate with a team of computational engineers to develop a computer program that can analyse the weave pattern of the canvas on which a particular work is painted, based on a digitized X-ray. The program is still being refined, but it is already clear that the results it generates could make a significant contribution to sequencing and dating Van Gogh’s painting. For more information see the website.

Discolouration of organic colorants

Maarten van Bommel, Ella Hendriks (REVIGO), Matthijs de Keijzer, Frank Ligterink, Han Neevel, Ron Kievits


The discolouration of art objects has a strong impact on their appearance and therefore also their appreciation. This project aims to obtain a better understanding of the origin, the original appearance and the fading of dyes and organic pigments, with an emphasis on early synthetic dyes developed in the second half of the 19th century. The interdisciplinary approach includes analysis of the organic colourants, the study of historical recipes and creation of reconstructions and the development of new presentation strategies. For more information see the website.

Famille noire Porcelain

Stylistic and technical analysis
Ink de Pree-Dommisse

famille-noireChinese porcelain called Famille noire is decorated in enamel colours on a black enamelled ground and was made in the early 18th century. Its popularity rose in the late 19th century, resulting in increasing numbers appearing on the art market. Quite a number of Famille noire pieces are dated to the 18th century but were more likely fabricated in the 19th century. This research aims to find a relationship between stylistic characteristics and the composition of the enamels used in the early 18th and late 19th century pieces.

Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Culture Heritage (IPERION-CH)

Jørgen Wadum, Maarten van Bommel

iperionIPERION CH consists of 23 partners from 12 Member States. The IPERION CH consortium strives for the establishment of a European research infrastructure for restoration and conservation of Cultural Heritage, encompassed by the term Heritage Science. Heritage Science is a cross-cutting domain embracing a wide range of research disciplines supporting the various aspects of tangible and intangible Cultural Heritage conservation, interpretation and management. IPERION CH pursues the integration of European world-class facilities to create a cohesive entity playing a leading role in the global community of Heritage Science. For more information see the website.

PAinT Project

PAinT Alterations in Time
Maartje Stols-Witlox, Piet Idema, Annelies van Loon, Katrien Keune

The multi-disciplinary team of this NWO sponsored project within the Science4Arts Programme consists of conservators, conservation scientists, computational scientists and chemists. They cooperate with major Dutch museums and international research partners to investigate the ageing, deterioration and migration processes in oil paints, related to pigment-binder interactions. For more information see the website.

Perception and Deception

Reflections on faded colour photographs from the 70’s and 80’s in art collections
Clara von Waldthausen

perception-deceptionAs a result of the intrinsic weaknesses in the image-forming dyes of some colour photographs, and due to insufficient preservation strategies, many colour photographs made in the 1970s and 1980s have shifted in colour and faded. One “preservation strategy” is to reprint the image, a process that for all intents and purposes replaces the “original” photograph with a digital reproduction. This research examines how this practice addresses the materiality and authenticity of colour photograph, and its consequences for the various stakeholders.

Reconstructions of Historical Recipes to clean Oil Paintings

Maartje Stols-Witlox

historical-recipesThis project is sponsored by the Amsterdam University Fund campaign 2014 and aims to improve the understanding of past cleaning treatments of Old Master paintings. As of yet, it is not possible to connect damage patterns with historical treatment methods. By reconstructing historical recipes and cleaning methods, a connection will become possible between recipes and damage patterns in paintings. An important outcome of this project will be an open-access database.


Research into colours and discolouration
Ella Hendriks, The Van Gogh Museum, Tilburg University, Delft University of Technology and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

revigoThe REVIGO project (REassessing VIncent van GOgh) is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) as part of the Science4arts programme. Within this project, a multi-disciplinary team of conservators, art historians and conservation and computer scientists investigates how the colours used by Van Gogh in his paintings and drawings have altered over time. The goal is to simulate the original colours of art works and the process of their discolouration.
For more information see the Van Gogh Museum website and the NWO website.