The research is being conducted by three working groups. Each group is interdisciplinary and includes, at a minimum, one art historian, one materials researcher working on Van Gogh’s paintings, one materials researcher working on paintings by his contemporaries, and one researcher focusing on drawings. On issues of materials and techniques, these teams are working with experts at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and Shell.
Each working group has its own specific research topics, but in general terms, all three are examining:
- Van Gogh’s chosen materials, compared to those of his contemporaries, as well as his equipment and aids, again from a comparative perspective;
- his techniques, compared to his those of his contemporaries;
- his ideas about finish, compared to those of his contemporaries;
- the conditions under which a work of art was created: the studio, its furnishings and organisation, the objects depicted, and working in the open air;
- Van Gogh’s direct and indirect contact with the art world and its influence on his artistic development;
- the manuals that Van Gogh studied and their influence.