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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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Hidden in the heath

How Van Gogh listened to the advice from a friend…