CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

New web site allows study of unique images of Ghent Altarpiece

In 2010, Van Eyck’s renowned Ghent Altarpiece was subjected to an urgent conservation treatment within the Villa Chapel in St. Bavo Cathedral in Ghent. To enable this work, the altarpiece was temporarily dismantled, which in turn made it possible to undertake a technical documentation campaign, funded by the Getty Foundation. This project generated a wealth of high-definition digital images that will be integrally placed on the internet, which will allow anyone to study these paintings in microscopic magnification, and to peek under the paint surfaces by means of Infrared reflectograms (IRRs) and X-radiographs.

The first part of this project is now on line. Twenty IRR assemblies are available in full resolution for anyone to study and download through a special preview website: Through innovative use of web technology, the user is enabled for the first time ever to study the underdrawings of any two panels of the Ghent Altarpiece side by side.

The future, comprehensive web site is a collaborative project of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK/IRPA), Lukasweb, and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and is funded through additional support from the Getty Foundation and with support from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO). This site will also be hosted by KIK/IRPA and is scheduled to be on line by January 1, 2012.

Please feel free to contact the organizers directly should you have any questions or suggestions about this exciting project.

Ron Spronk (Queen’s University/Radboud Universiteit; Project Coordination)

Bart Fransen (KIK/IRPA; Centre for the Study of the Flemish Primitives)

Timothy Naessen (Lukasweb)

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