In the years ahead, this blog will present many research results and behind-the-scenes looks at our ongoing exploration of Van Gogh’s studio practice. If you’d like to stay informed about the latest developments, you can subscribe to our RSS feed for automatic updates about new results and findings.

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The perfect match

You are walking through Paris, the city of romance. Perhaps you will meet the love of your life here. But as we know from the movies, you could just as easily pass each other by. As you enter the shop, the other person leaves via a side door. You continue with your life, completely unaware of what might have happened. Only the shop assistant has seen both of you, almost simultaneously. It could have been the perfect match. Read the rest of this entry »

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With a little help from the computer…

Computers are a big aid, also for the conservator. Roughly five years ago, the Van Gogh Museum entered a new and somewhat unusual research partnership with experts in the field of  Electrical and Computer Engineering. Our collaborative goal was to develop new computer tools for the study of artists’ canvases. This initiative developed into the ‘Automated Thread Count Project’, co-directed by Professors  Richard C. R. Johnson, Jr. and  Don H. Johnson, from Cornell and Rice Universities in the USA. Application of this tool has led to fascinating new insights regarding Van Gogh’s choice of canvases in relation to other painters of his day, as this one example shows.

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Imagine: you get up in the morning, look in the mirror and see nothing but a blank canvas. You can add your own eyelashes, a healthy blush and perfectly shaped eyebrows, even freckles if you like. Using a make-up brush you then add the finishing touches in colours to suit your mood. You can reinvent yourself every day. Like children do in a fuzzy felt book, with stick-on moustaches and pre-styled hairdos. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two for the price of one

During his two years spent in Paris (1886-1888) Van Gogh recycled many paintings. At first he painted new pictures on top of existing ones. Later on, he also painted new works on the reverse of earlier canvases , creating “double-sided” paintings.

Ella Hendriks, Senior Conservator at the Van Gogh Museum,  closes in to focus on five self-portraits made on the backs of paintings  from the Nuenen period.

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Spot the differences

Bartje. Bruine bonen. Bronze age dolmens and turf huts. TT racing, natural gas and sheep pens. Simple but hearty fare such as brown beans and krentjebrij. These are some of the highlights Dutch people associate with the Netherlands’ most sparsely populated province: Drenthe. This part of the country is most famous for its unspoilt natural landscapes. Its vast sandy areas, watercourses and peat marshes make you feel time has stood still. It’s certainly beautiful, but also quite static.

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