CONF Mar 23, 2024

OSK Technical Art History Days April 2024 (Utrecht, 4-5 Apr 24)

ArtLab and Botanical Gardens, Utrecht University, Apr 4–05, 2024
Registration deadline: Mar 25, 2024

Gonçalo Albergaria

National Research School for Art History (OSK) Days at Utrecht University’s Botanical Gardens.

Technical Art History Research Days 2024 are organised by the Department of History and Art History of Utrecht University and the National Research School for Art History (OSK). Taking place at the Botanical Gardens and UU’s ArtLab in Utrecht on April 4 and 5, we present and discuss current research at Utrecht University that brings together material and digital approaches for the study of art and heritage. On April 4 we have presentations on material engagement, digital art history, and teaching at the Digital and Technical ArtLab. After workshop demonstrations in the ArtLab and a guided tour in the Botanical Gardens, in the afternoon current PhD and RMa students will pitch their projects. On April 5, there is a chance to integrate some of the themes in an immersive hands-on workshop at the ArtLab.

Time and location
04/04 10:00-17:00, Conservatory, UU Botanical Gardens, De Uithof (Science Park, Utrecht)
05/04 11:00-15:00, ArtLab Utrecht, Bolognalaan 50


Thursday April 4

10.00 Registration & coffee

10:15-10:30 Welcome & Introduction

Sven Dupré

10.30-12.00 – Research Presentations Digital and Technical ArtLab

Material Engagement @UU ArtLab
Marjolijn Bol, Grace Kim-Butler, Jan van Daal, Henrike Scholten, Clara Mikellides De Chiaro

DURARE, a five-year research project funded by the European Research Council, studies the impact of the artisan and patron’s ambitions to craft, own and theorize durable objects on the long-term development of the visual and decorative arts. The DURARE team uses the UU ArtLab to explore our research questions hands-on, as well as forge collaborations with stakeholders in- and outside the university. In this collaborative presentation we will provide an overview of the various materials and subjects we have explored thus far, ranging from fading lichen colorants to durable dyes with nitric acid, and from the reconstruction of fleeting perfumes to exploring the bonds of historical adhesives.

Digital Art History @UU ArtLab
Sanne Frequin, Daantje Meuwissen, Christien Schrover

At the ArtLab, our interdisciplinary teams collaborate to delve deeper into the materiality of heritage objects. By merging virtual digital imaging techniques with technical-material knowledge of the object, our goal is to reveal layered narratives of the past, present, and future embedded within artworks. In this talk, we will present three ongoing projects:

1. The first project focuses on digitally reconstructing a damaged medieval altarpiece Adriaen van Wesel.
2. The second project aims to visually document the complex biography of medieval wooden barrel vaults in the Northern Netherlands.
3. The third project involves both digital and physical reconstruction of an overpainted altarpiece, from the Master of the Lindau Crucifixion.

Teaching @UU ArtLab: Educating Future Art Historians and Heritage Specialists
Thijs Hagendijk, Wendy Wiertz

Technical Art History has developed into a true interdisciplinary nexus that features traditional art historical approaches as well as hands-on methodologies and scientific research. This also creates unique opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching that diverges in many respects from the way art history has traditionally been taught.

In the ArtLab, we offer various practical courses and hands-on workshops for students across the university, including art historians, chemists and historians of science. We train students to historicize making processes and materials, thus providing them with unique and complementary skills that they can put on the table in interdisciplinary and collaborative projects dealing with heritage and material culture.

12.00-15.00 – Lunch

We will showcase various projects of the ArtLab and there is a possibility to follow a guided tour through the Botanical Garden that dives deeper into plants that can be used for dyeing and other purposes.

15:00-16:00 – PhD and RMa Research Presentations

-Hanne Schonkeren, PhD candidate (Vrije Universiteit Brussel / Utrecht University)
Ingenious craftsmanship: a performative and art historical study of gold and silversmithing in sixteenth-century Antwerp
-Liping Zhu, PhD candidate (Utrecht University)
The revival of Malines lace in Mechelen’s communities
-Kirsten Weterings, RMa student (Utrecht University)
What Boards from the Same Tree in 17th-century Panels Tell Us about Artists' Workshop Practice
-Marie-Noëlle Grison, PhD candidate (KU Leuven Faculty of Arts / Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium)
Not just powder? Unravelling the use of friable media in early works by Léon Spilliaert (Belgian, 1881-1946)
-Sjors Nab, RMa student (Utrecht University)
Sharing the Silent Master’s Secret: The technical study of Dieric Bouts as a showcase of material-technical research
-Xialing Liu, PhD candidate (Utrecht University / Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing)
The Brightness of Lacquerware: The Combination of Mother-of-Pearl and Imitating Lacquer Porcelain

16.00 – Drinks

Friday April 5 – workshop (11.00 - 15.00)

On Friday we will organize a hands-on workshop in digital art history and material engagement at the Utrecht ArtLab. There are limited spots available, so make sure to register in time. The workshop is open to people who have participated on the 4th of April.

To register, please fill in the section regarding April 5 via the Google Form ( before March 25, 17:00h.


CONF: OSK Technical Art History Days April 2024 (Utrecht, 4-5 Apr 24). In:, Mar 23, 2024 (accessed May 21, 2024), <>.