Spring 2010 friends lecture series

Conservation in Focus: Decoration of a Utrecht Canal House by Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680): A technical and historical analysis of an early series of large fitted canvasses

Tuesday, 9 March 2010
17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Venus presents Aeneus with armour, plus flying cherubs and blacksmiths at forge
Ferdinand Bol, Aeneas receives a new set of armour from Venus, canvas 400 x 407 cm, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam on loan to the Peace Palace, The Hague. Photo: © Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Speaker(s): Dr Margriet van Eikema Hommes (Instituut Collectie Nederland and University of Amsterdam)
Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission
Organised by: Conservation of Wall Painting Department and Conservation & Technology Department (The Courtauld)

Dr Margriet van Eikema Hommes will give a lecture on her recent research leading to the publication of a book later this year related to an ensemble of five large scale oil paintings painted in the early 1660s by Ferdinand Bol.

The commission of these works for a specific location is investigated, together with the iconography of the works that includes unusual and disparate subject matter. During the recent restoration of these paintings, in collaboration with conservators at SRAL, Dr van Eikema Hommes carried out extensive material technical research of the paintings. The results of this research, together with new archival findings, and research into the political and religious history of Utrecht, answered the questions of their original location and commission. The specific evolution of the series of works, that were ordered in three stages and adapted at each stage to accommodate the additions is discussed, that elucidates the meaning of the series and relates to a local political-religious conflict in Utrecht in the 17th Century.

Margriet van Eikema Hommes studied art history at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In 2002, she obtained her doctorate with a dissertation on the discoloration of 15th-17th century oil paintings. From 2002-2005 she has worked as a post-doctoral researcher, investigating the paintings in the Oranjezaal (1648-1652), Huis ten Bosch. Since 2006, she is working for the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN). Currently as a post-doctoral researcher (based at UvA), she is carrying out research into 17th- and early 18th-century Dutch painting ensembles (research funded by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NOW)). Margriet van Eikema Hommes has published books and articles, both in the field of art history as in the field of conservation science.

The Spring 2010 Friends Lecture Series is supported by the Friends of The Courtauld Institute of Art.

The many faces of conservation are presented in this series of lectures: from concerted efforts to preserve endangered authentic architectural polychromy in China, to interfacing with public perceptions of what is a mostly an invisible activity at the British Museum, to a spectacularly simple yet effective method for visualising remains of Egyptian blue on ancient art. Technical studies are a traditional strength of The Courtauld and three of the lectures will explore paintings methods, beginning with 17th-century Holland and recent analysis of paintings by Vermeer and Bol, then moving to 20th-century Italy and the Spatialist art of Fontana.

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