CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rembrandt Restoration project

Liesbeth De Belie

Rembrandt – Portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck
The Portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck, one of two paintings by Rembrandt in a Belgian public collection was entirely restored at the Koninklijk Instituut voor het Kunstpatrimonium (KIK-IRPA) (Brussels Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage) between 2007 and 2009. The project, supported by an international advisory board, proved to be a real challenge because the portrait is the only Rembrandt painting in the world still with its original canvas support. Will the results of this spectacular restoration and the recent new facts about the portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck substantially change our perception of this work of art, and its depreciation in the literature up until now, especially when compared to its pendant, the Portrait of Agatha Bas?

Frans Hals – Three children with a goat cart
The most important new restoration project for the collection of 17th-century Dutch paintings is Frans Hals’ Three children with a goat cart. Because it is a fragment of a much larger family portrait, this undertaking, too, faces particular problems. The existing theories about the portrait’s original appearance will be proven true or false, once and for all.

About Liesbeth De Belie

Liesbeth De Belie is curator of Dutch paintings at the Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België (KMSK), Brussels. She organized the documentary exhibition on the restoration of Rembrandt’s Portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck held in the KMSK from 23 June to 27 September 2009, and is writing on this subject. De Belie coordinates painting restorations for the Old Masters Department, and is currently working on the catalogue of the 17th-century Dutch paintings in the KMSK.

Rembrandt (1606/07-1669), Portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck, 1641 Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

Rembrandt (1606/07-1669), Portrait of Agtaha Bas, 1641 Royal Collection, London