CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Ontdekkingen: Verborgen verflagen worden zichtbaar

Discoveries: Hidden Paint Layers Revealed Exhibition: 1 May - 1 July 2012

From the museum’s press release, 27 April 2012

From 1 May to 1 July the Rembrandt House Museum is devoting an exhibition to the examination of about eight paintings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries using the XRF technique. The exhibition will include paintings by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jacob van Loo, Jan Breughel the Younger and others, all of which have recently been examined using XRF. The often surprising results of this research will be presented in photographs, accompanied by a clear explanation. The exhibition will acquaint a wide audience with the latest developments in scientific research into paintings from the Golden Age.

The X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technique was developed by Professor Koen Janssens (University of Antwerp) and Professor Joris Dik (Delft University of Technology). Through the technique of XRF, pigments in concealed paint layers can be detected, so that images that have been overpainted can be seen in photographs.

On 2 December 2011 an unknown painting by Rembrandt was exhibited in the Rembrandt House. It was a ‘tronie’ of an old man with a beard, which Rembrandt painted around 1630. Rembrandt expert Professor Ernst van de Wetering was able to attribute the painting to the master on the basis of a thorough stylistic analysis and the results of scientific examination. Among other things, this revealed that there is an unfinished Rembrandt self-portrait hidden below the surface of the paint. This work will also be on view in the exhibition.