On Monday 26 February 2018, the Mauritshuis launches The Girl in the Spotlight: an in-depth scientific examination of the Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665) by Johannes Vermeer. The museum’s most famous painting was last examined in 1994, during a conservation treatment.
Although further restoration is not yet required, major advances in non-invasive technical analysis have been made over the last 25 years. The Mauritshuis hopes to learn more about how Vermeer painted the Girl with a Pearl Earring, as well as the materials that he used. The research will take two weeks and will be conducted in public at the Mauritshuis. The latest technologies will be used.
The research project The Girl in the Spotlight is a Mauritshuis initiative, and involves a team of internationally recognised specialists associated with the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS). The NICAS partners are Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, TU Delft, and Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE).Other institutions involved include: Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam (STCA), Maastricht University, University of Antwerp, the National Gallery of Art Washington and Hirox Europe. Head researcher Abbie Vandivere: ‘It’s an honour to collaborate with such a team of experts, and to have access to the state-of-the-art equipment that they will bring to the Mauritshuis. For two weeks, the museum will house one of the most advanced research centres in the world.’ Some of the technologies that the project will harness are: MA-XRF scanning, optical coherence tomography and digital microscopy. After the two-week research period, the Girl with a Pearl Earring will be one of the best documented works of art in the world.