Research into Van Gogh's studio practice
Over the last 15 years the Van Gogh Museum has conducted extensive research into the life and work of Vincent van Gogh. This has yielded valuable information about his way of working. As the research progressed, the question of how Van Gogh's way of working related to that of his contemporaries resurfaced increasingly frequently. This particular question, then, lies at the heart of the research project Van Gogh's studio practice that was started in 2005.
The research project
The project aims to expand further on the accumulated scholarship with regard to Van Gogh's studio practice and to place it within the time frame and the context of his contemporaries and of works that Van Gogh himself studied as pointers to technique. 'Studio practice' is seen here as the cumulation of working techniques, materials and knowledge deployed by the artist to achieve the desired effects in his work. The aim is to answer questions such as 'Where did Van Gogh acquire his knowledge and inspiration?' and 'How does the work of Van Gogh relate to that of his contemporaries?'. The research is concentrated on Van Gogh himself, on artists with whom he actually came into contact (such as Mauve, Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac and Gauguin) and on artists with whose oeuvre and way of working he was well acquainted (Monticelli, Delacroix and Millet).
This project is being undertaken in close cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE) and partner in science Shell Netherlands. All in all, more than 30 researchers from different disciplines in and outside the museum are currently working on this innovative research project. Not only art historians, but also art restorers, scientists and experts in the field of digital imaging are involved.
The project will generate greater insight into Van Gogh's way of working in relation to that of his contemporaries and will culminate in an exhibition and a book. These are intended to foster a broader base of interest for material-technical and art historical research into the work of Van Gogh and his contemporaries. The outcome of different aspects of the research are regularly presented in a series of small-scale but highly detailed presentations in the Van Gogh Museum and via special thematic pages on the museum's website.
The research project is due to finish in spring 2013.
The project owner is Chris Stolwijk, while the project leader is Marije Vellekoop.
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